Due to Potential Significant Environmental Impacts, Federal Approval not Granted for Project OTTAWA, Nov. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent announced today that the Shallow Gas Infill Development Project proposed by Cenovus Energy at Canadian Forces Base Suffield National Wildlife Area in Alberta will not be granted federal approval to proceed. The Government has decided that the significant adverse environmental effects that would be caused by the project are not justified in the circumstances. Today, the Government is issuing the first decision statement under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012. "We make these environmental assessment decisions based on the best available scientific evidence," said Minister Kent."This decision is a clear indication of our Government's commitment to strengthening environmental protection as a pillar of our Responsible Resource Development initiative." The project has undergone a thorough environmental review based on the best available scientific evidence by an independent Joint Review Panel under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. In making its decision, the Government of Canada took into consideration the recommendations of the Joint Review Panel, as well as subsequent identification of critical habitat in the area for species at risk, and agreed with the Panel's conclusions regarding the significance of the project's environmental impacts. "This decision also indicates that Responsible Resource Development is not an automatic green light for all development projects, only those projects that meet our environmental rigor will be approved," added Minister Kent. The Minister wishes to thank the Joint Review Panel Chair, Bob Connelly, and Panel Members Bill Ross and Gerry DeSorcy for their hard work and dedication in conducting a thorough and open environmental review. The Minister's environmental assessment decision statement, a backgrounder and the Joint Review Panel Report are available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca , reference number 15620. Backgrounder PROPOSED SHALLOW GAS INFILL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT AT CFB SUFFIELD The Project Cenovus Energy Inc. (formerly EnCana Corporation) proposed to drill up to 1,275 new shallow gas wells within the boundary of the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield National Wildlife Area over a three-year period, essentially doubling the existing 1,154 gas wells installed before the area was declared a National Wildlife Area (NWA). The proposal would have included pipelines, access trails and other infrastructure.The NWA is located 50 km northwest of Medicine Hat in Alberta. The Area The CFB Suffield NWA was created in recognition of its ecological integrity and the diversity and abundance of native plant and animal species. It is one of the few large blocks of dry mixed-grass prairie remaining in Canada and accounts for about 30 per cent of all the protected grasslands in Alberta. The NWA encompasses 458 km(2) of prairie grassland and hosts over 1,100 catalogued species including 19 terrestrial species listed under the Species at Risk Act. The Review Process The Joint Review Panel was appointed on November 16, 2006, by the Minister of the Environment and the Chair of the former Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (predecessor to the Energy Resources Conservation Board), to conduct an assessment of the project. In addition to written submissions, a public hearing provided an opportunity for the Panel to receive and question information on the views of participants. Public hearings were held from October 6 to 31, 2008 in Calgary and Medicine Hat. Participants who provided evidence at the hearing, in addition to the proponent, included the Government of Canada, the Environmental Coalition, the Suffield Environmental Advisory Committee, the Suffield Industry Range Control, members of the public, environmental groups, energy companies, and Panel experts.The Panel released its report on January 27, 2009. Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, the Minister set a timeline for the Government decision for this project to be made by December 3, 2012. Additional details and environmental assessment documents are available in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency registry at www.ceaa.gc.ca , reference number 15620. Media may contact: Adam Sweet Press Secretary Office of the Minister of the Environment 819-997-1441 Lucille Jamault Communications Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency 613-957-0434 SOURCE: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/November2012/30/c5068.html CO: Government of Canada ST: Ontario NI: ENV OIL ECOSURV -0- Nov/30/2012 14:00 GMT
Due to Potential Significant Environmental Impacts, Federal Approval not Granted for Project
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