90-day clock begins on Pacific NorthWest LNG review

The clock has resumed on the environmental review for Pacific NorthWest LNG.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announced Monday it had received final responses from the company on a number of environmental and marine issues. 

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"The legislated timeline for the project, including a three-month extension granted by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, has resumed," the agency announced. 

Earlier this month, federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said a decision on the project would come around mid-September.

Carr told reporters that the Sept. 15 timeline depended on when Pacific NorthWest LNG submits its final paperwork. 

"I expect a decision before the end of September — unless for reasons I don't know about today, there is significant delay in the filing of the final application to the regulator."

As part of its responses, Pacific NorthWest LNG filed a 271-page document on marine construction, impacts, and mitigation plans, along with 343 pages of fish survey results compiled between December 2014 and February 2016, and a 23-page submission of comments on at least 18 conditions that the CEAA has drafted and proposed for the project.

The $11.4 billion terminal on Lelu Island outside Prince Rupert would liquify natural gas sourced in the Peace Region. It is considered a crucial piece of B.C.’s oil and gas industry, as the sector struggles with a North American supply glut. Developing an LNG industry was also a major plank of the provincial B.C. Liberal government in the 2013 election.

However, the plant has encountered opposition from environmental groups and First Nations over its impact on Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments, as well as its impact on the Skeena River salmon fishery. 

In March, the federal government asked from more information on the project, delaying approval by several months. 

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