Energy Saguenay: the decision of Ottawa will not take into account the maritime transport

Énergie Saguenay: la décision d’Ottawa ne tiendra pas compte du transport maritime

Photo: Kevin Clancy Newsy / AP
The liquefied natural gas is transported by lng vessels of around 300 metres in length.

Even if the maritime transport of natural gas that will be exported from the terminal Energy-Saguenay is an inseparable part of the project, the canadian environmental assessment Agency has determined that this aspect does not form part of. A situation that could open the door to appeals before the courts when the government allow the construction of the industrial complex.

Like the port project which was planned in Cacouna, an LNG Quebec will lead to an increase in shipping traffic in critical habitat of the beluga of the St. Lawrence river, primarily within the boundaries of the marine park of Saguenay–Saint-Laurent.

 Énergie Saguenay: la décision d’Ottawa ne tiendra pas compte du transport maritime

However, this navigation ” falls outside the responsibility and control of LNG Quebec “, since the company will not be responsible for the ship tankers that will export the natural gas in alberta. It is therefore not considered ” as part of the project for the purposes of the environmental assessment “, provides the canadian environmental assessment Agency (cea AGENCY) in the “guidelines” set for the study of the impact of the project Energy Saguenay, which includes a liquefaction plant and a marine terminal.

297 meters

Length in meters of lng, which is fed through the Saguenay to reach the port. In comparison, the Titanic measured 269 metres in length.

“Therefore, the minister [canadian Environment] will not take a decision under the [Act canadian environmental assessment act, 2012] to determine whether this shipping associated with the project “is likely” to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and these activities will not be subject to any conditions imposed on the promoter by a statement of decision authorizing the implementation of the project “, one can read in these same ” guidelines “.

Cumulative effects

In response to questions of Duty, the AGENCY stated that LNG Québec ” will be required to provide, in its environmental impact study, an analysis of the environmental impacts of shipping associated with the project, including effects on the beluga of the St. Lawrence.” This information will be taken into account in the assessment of cumulative environmental effects of the project, ” the Agency said, while refusing to clarify if this could be a reason for denial of the project.

“The cea AGENCY would be ill-placed to do fi. Therefore, it is likely that she decides to take note of in the context of cumulative effects. But it’s not part of the project. So she will take it into account as a secondary aspect and not an aspect that would be important in this project “, pointed out to the Duty a lawyer specializing in environmental law, who preferred not to be named because of his professional commitments.

6 to 8

The expected number of passages of ships a week on the Saguenay.

“In its report, the Agency will decide on the significant adverse environmental effects only for the elements that are part of the project. It is therefore not going to issue recommendations on the conditions [of approval] on aspects that are not part of the project “, he added.

The AGENCY, however, could easily change the rules of the game now, according to him, since the company has carried out its impact study in respect of the “guidelines” that have already been transmitted.

The vice-president, public Affairs, LNG, Quebec, Marie-Claude Lavigne, assured for his part that “impacts of navigation arising from the project have been assessed “and that” a whole chapter of the impact study is dedicated to the navigation “. This study should also ” be filed shortly “, she added.

Legal Action

According to the lawyer, Karine Péloffy, former director of the quebec Centre of environmental law, this exclusion from the maritime transport of the definition of “project” evaluated could lead to a legal action in a time that the federal government will authorize the construction.

She recalled that in the dossier of the controversial expansion project of the pipeline, Trans Mountain, the federal court of appeal has overturned last August the decree authorizing the project, highlighting in particular that the national energy Board had made “a critical mistake” by defining the project so as to exclude the maritime transport of oil of the federal assessment.


The total expected annual passing ships on the Saguenay river in 2030 by adding up the various projects planned or under study. This would be an increase of 180% compared to the current situation.

“The decision that was rendered by the court of appeal in the record: Trans Mountain indicates that the maritime transport should be assessed as part of the project “, pointed out to Me Péloffy.

An opinion shared by Robert Michaud, an expert who is studying the St. Lawrence belugas for more than 30 years. According to him, it is especially necessary to evaluate “in a global perspective,” the impacts of the various developments port provided on the Saguenay river, including the port project for the mining Arianne Phosphate, and of Energy, Saguenay.

The experts from Fisheries and Oceans Canada have also produced last year a scientific opinion which concludes that the construction of these two ports will run counter to the objectives of the plan of recovery of the beluga whale, an endangered species officially protected by the provisions of the Act, the species at risk act.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *