Pacific NorthWest LNG would have “significant” adverse environmental impacts requiring “major” mitigation efforts, sources familiar with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s (CEAA) review of the controversial project have told Reuters.
On Sept. 23, the news agency reported that “two sources briefed” on CEAA’s upcoming report said the Petronas-led project would require significant measures to offset its environmental impact.
Pacific NorthWest LNG, which would be built on Lelu Island near Port Edward on B.C.’s north coast, is the presumed front runner of the nearly 20 proposals to liquefy and ship B.C.'s natural gas to Asia.
The project has waited nearly three years and two governments for regulatory approval.
The news is not unexpected, given the project’s potential impacts on the Skeena River salmon fishery and its significant CO2 emissions.
While it does not bode well for the project—onerous environmental conditions could drive up costs and lead the company to walk—it is far from a death kneel since CEAA has no veto on project proposals.
The decision whether to approve PNW, which would source gas from Progress Energy fields in Northeast B.C., is seen as a major test for Justin Trudeau’s government on energy policy.
If cabinet grants approval, Pacific NorthWest will review any conditions on the project before making a final investment decision.
Pacific NorthWest’s total Canadian investment, if approved, would total $36 billion, making it among the largest foreign direct investment in Canadian history.
The Trudeau cabinet is expected to make a decision on the project by Oct. 2.