Deep Panuke project referred to responsible authorities, as minister deems adverse impacts unlikely
OTTAWA, ONT-Federal Environment Minister John Baird has referred the proposed Deep Panuke offshore gas development project back to the responsible authorities, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB), the National Energy Board (NEB), Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Industry Canada and Transport Canada, for appropriate action, having concluded that the project is unlikely to cause any adverse environmental effects. The Minister's environmental assessment (EA) decision was based on information, including conclusions and recommendations, in the comprehensive study report submitted by the responsible authorities, as well as on public comments received during a 30-day consultation period (which ended on July 10, 2007) and the responses of the responsible authorities to the comments. Baird has recommends that the responsible authorities ensure that mitigation measures and a follow-up program are implemented as described in the comprehensive study report. The proposed Deep Panuke offshore natural gas production project would be located about 45 km west-southwest of Sable Island and some 250 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its main components include a jack-up mobile offshore production unit, subsea flow lines and wells, and an export pipeline. If approved, this would be the second offshore gas project in Nova Scotia waters, the other being the Goldboro Sable offshore energy project. The proposal underwent an 11-month EA process, carried out concurrently with a regulatory review conducted jointly by the NEB and the CNSOPB. More information, including the Minister's decision statement, is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, reference number 06-03-21748.