Photo: Alexander Shields The Duty
Energy Saguenay has confirmed that “analysis” will be produced “independently” and that it will be provided to government authorities who will evaluate the project.
At the time of authorizing the project Energy Saguenay, the federal government will not take account of the environmental impacts of the production of natural gas in alberta, which will be liquefied at the future LNG plant, Quebec, has taught The Duty. The government of Quebec relies, however, to Ottawa for the consideration of climate issues in the mega-project industrial, which will be evaluated predominantly under the rules put in place by the conservatives of Stephen Harper.
According to the “guidelines” of the study of the impact transmitted to LNG Quebec by the canadian environmental assessment Agency (CEAA), the proponent of the plant project natural gas liquefaction and marine terminal export must “provide an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions produced upstream” of the project.
This assessment must include the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the “production” of natural gas mined by hydraulic fracturing, in Alberta, and that will be transported up to the Saguenay region via pipeline. This means that the company behind this project of $ 7.5 billion must provide to the AGENCY an estimate of the GHG emissions related to the operation of the gas will be liquefied at the plant, at a rate of 11 million tons per year.
Energy Saguenay has already confirmed that such “analysis” will be produced ” independent “, taking into account the ” scientific evidence “, and that it will be provided to government authorities who will evaluate the project.
However, the guidelines of the federal assessment — drafted in accordance with the provisions of the Act, the canadian environmental assessment act, revised by the conservatives in 2012 (CEAA 2012) — indicate very clearly that the GHG emissions produced upstream ” are not considered as part of the project for the purposes of the environmental assessment.”
“Therefore, the minister [of the Environment] will not take a decision under the CEAA 2012 to determine if […] these greenhouse gas emissions produced upstream are 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. “
Confirmation of Ottawa
In response to the questions of the Duty, the cea AGENCY confirmed that ” during the evaluation of the project, the Agency will take into account the direct emissions of GHGS from sources including LNG Quebec Inc. is the owner or has the control “.
The environmental review federal will also “collect information on GHG emissions generated upstream by the activities associated with the project,” said the cea AGENCY, in response to questions which were sent directly to the office of the minister of the Environment and climate Change, Catherine McKenna. “However, the GHG emissions produced upstream by third parties are not part of the project for the purposes of the decision of the minister on the project. “
As a result, neither the federal assessment or one that should be undertaken in Québec under the aegis of the Office of public hearings on the environment will take account of the impacts of gas development in alberta, which will be used to produce liquefied natural gas in the Saguenay.
The office of the minister of the Environment Benoit Charette confirmed that ” this question relates to the federal government “, as in the case of Quebec, ” the balance of GHG emissions for the verification of the achievement of reduction targets shall consider emissions produced in quebec “.
This situation of exclusion of the main climate impacts related to Energy Saguenay, in the decision-making on the project, do not surprise the lawyer of Jean Baril. He stressed that the Act canadian environmental assessment act, rewritten in 2012 by the conservative ” limit the powers of assessment, which was the desire of the Harper government “.
“With the current law, it would be very difficult to demonstrate that the environmental assessment of a project like this should take account of the greenhouse gas emissions upstream. Yet, the common sense climate indicates that the issue of GHG emissions should be taken into account, especially as we have taken commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate “, has pointed out to Me a Barrel, a specialist in environmental law.
Bill C-69, introduced by the liberals of Justin Trudeau, would review the CEAA, in order to improve environmental assessments. It has also been adopted by the House of commons, but he is currently in the Senate, where it faces stiff opposition from senators conservative. The senate committee that will consider the draft law has also voted in favour of meetings and travelling, who will move to Canada. The final adoption could take several more months.
It is also because of the CEAA 2012 that the gas pipeline project, 650 kilometres that will feed the Power plant, Saguenay, will be evaluated by the national energy Board, before a decision that will belong only to the federal government.
Arrested recently during a press conference in Montreal, Catherine McKenna has not wanted to comment on the draft Energy Saguenay, saying relying on the” environmental assessment “. It has, however, emphasized that Canada needs to ” see how our resources can go to the markets “. It thus refers to the project, LNG Canada, on the west coast, which represents, according to her “solution” to the export shipping of canadian natural gas.