Vancouver – The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has agreed to extend a public comment period in the assessment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project near Prince Rupert after environmental groups pointed out that the map submitted by the proponent and used in several public notices completely left out the Skeena River, BC’s second largest river.
“The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has acknowledged the ‘potential confusion’ that may have resulted from the inaccurate map and taken a number of the corrective actions we requested,” said Luanne Roth, North Coast Energy Campaigner, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. “This is a small piece of good news for salmon and for the Skeena.”
Roth notes that Flora Bank, just offshore of the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG site on Lelu Island, supports 50-60% of the eelgrass in the Skeena Estuary. This critical salmon habitat is an important part of the Skeena ecosystem which was omitted from the original map the company submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. In 1975 this location was rejected for a similar project because of the potential impacts to the Skeena’s salmon runs.
“The ‘case of the missing Skeena’ may be resolved, but the broader question of whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment process will deliver for British Columbians remains outstanding,” says Jessica Clogg, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law. “We need to move beyond a piece meal approach and ensure that we are taking a comprehensive, strategic look at the cumulative impacts of all of these proposed LNG projects on the things British Columbians value.”
In response to the outcry about the missing river, CEAA has now announced that the public comment period on the draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines for the Pacific Northwest LNG project has been extended to September 20, 2013, as has the deadline to apply for funding to participate in the assessment process. The original map, and an updated, accurate map are now available on the registry website at: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80032.
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For more information contact:
Executive Director and Senior Counsel
West Coast Environmental Law
North Coast Energy Campaigner
T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation