GNL Québec still under evaluation

Despite the rejection of LNG Quebec by the Legault government, the project is not dead. The promoters have indeed requested the continuation of the federal environmental assessment of the Énergie Saguenay plant, learned The duty. A report should also be published in the coming weeks, as well as “potential conditions” for the project to be carried out. This document will be unveiled after the federal election, which could lead to the election of a Conservative government that has promised to bank on exports of liquefied natural gas.

The Quebec environmental assessment process for the liquefaction plant and marine terminal project prompted the Legault government, initially favorable to GNL Quebec, to finally reject the project last July.

However, Quebec’s assessment is not the only one. The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (AEIC) has also been carrying out an environmental study since January 2016. No less than 218 documents have been submitted by various stakeholders, including discussions between the proponent and the AEIC, as well as opinions from federal departments.

The Legault government’s disqualification did not lead the American promoters of this $ 9 billion project to put an end to the evaluation of the AEIC. “The proponent, GNL Québec inc., Has indicated to the AEIC its intention to continue the environmental assessment of the Énergie Saguenay project”, confirmed to the To have to a spokesperson for the organization.

The environmental assessment is also well advanced, according to what the AEIC clarified. “The next step in the environmental assessment process is to launch a 30-day consultation period on the draft EA report and potential conditions in the coming weeks. This document should therefore be published after the September 20 elections.

Silence on GHGs

It should be noted that the Énergie Saguenay project is assessed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act revised by Stephen Harper’s conservatives in 2012 (CEAA 2012). The guidelines sent to the promoter for the preparation of its impact study therefore stipulated that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced “upstream”, mainly during the exploitation of natural gas, “are not considered as part of the project. purposes of the environmental assessment ”.

“Therefore, the Minister [de l’Environnement] will not make a decision under CEAA 2012 to determine whether […] these greenhouse gas emissions produced upstream are likely to cause significant negative environmental effects, and these activities will not be subject to the conditions imposed on the promoter by a decision statement authorizing the execution of the project ”, specify the lines guidelines.

This means that the future federal Minister of the Environment will not be able to take into account, in his decision whether or not to authorize the project, of the few seven million tonnes of GHGs attributable to the extraction and transportation of Alberta gas, exploited primarily by fracking. Maritime export, by LNG tanker, is not considered either. “As part of the project for the purposes of the environmental assessment”, since it “escapes the responsibility and control of GNL Québec”. However, the AEIC has promised that this will be taken into account in the “cumulative environmental effects assessment”.

” To analyse “

The duty asked GNL Quebec if the company has definitively given up on its project. “Due to the summer period and its contingencies, the board of directors of GNL Quebec must continue the work necessary to carry out its analysis of the situation,” we replied by email.

On the side of Gazoduq, a company controlled by the same American shareholders and created to build the gas pipeline that would supply the plant, it is only said that the company “has slowed down its activities and is awaiting a decision from GNL Quebec”. In the case of the 780 kilometer pipeline, the environmental assessment is still ongoing and the decision to authorize construction rests solely with the federal government.

GNL Quebec still has three active lobbyists registered in the Quebec registry. The registry website indicates that the declaration was amended on August 13, with the withdrawal of two lobbyists. Gazoduq has five active lobbyists and the statement was also amended in August, with the withdrawal of two lobbyists.

According to sources familiar with the matter, supporters of the project are hoping that a possible election of the Conservatives ofErin O’Toole would make it possible to relaunch the debate on the realization of the LNG Quebec project. The upcoming CNSA report, drafted on the basis of guidelines stemming from legislation passed under the former Harper government, may indeed shed some light. This was the case for several other projects assessed under CEAA 2012 and related to the exploitation, transportation and export of fossil fuels, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

Favorable au GNL

When he ran for the Conservative Party leadership, Erin O’Toole pleaded in favor of GNL Québec. The development of LNG projects in Canada is also registered in its electoral platform. Using arguments similar to those put forward by the promoters of Saguenay Energy, the Conservatives point out that “Canada has abundant resources of clean and affordable natural gas, and the clean electricity required to produce LNG”. “Our strategy will be focused on LNG exports while ensuring that the new plants are electrified in order to reduce emissions”, we can also read in the document.

At the beginning of September, the Conservatives also sent text messages to several citizens of the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean region to denounce the opposition of the Bloc Quebecois to the gas project. ” It’s the Conservative Party of Canada. Did you know that the Bloc Quebecois was against GNL Quebec and that they contributed to its failure? », Stated the first message. A second stressed that “only the conservative candidates with Richard Martel [député de Chicoutimi-Le Fjord] supported GNL Québec and regional jobs. Will they have your support on voting day? “.

The duty attempted to secure an interview with Mr. Martel, but the latter was “not available”. It was also not possible to obtain details from the Conservative Party’s communications department.

Interviewed on the show Up there on the hill de Qub radio, in August, Erin O’Toole said he was “disappointed” with the rejection of the Quebec LNG project by the Legault government, saying that this plant was “a carbon neutral project and important for jobs in the region”. But he also promised to “respect the decisions of the Legault government”. The liberals of Justin trudeau did not take a position on GNL Québec before the rejection of the project by the Legault government, and the NDP opposed it.

In the office of Minister of the Environment Benoit Charette, we are assured that the door is indeed closed. “We didn’t have to wait for the federal government’s assessment to make our decision. We also recall that having only one environmental assessment per project is one of Quebec’s requests to federal leaders, ”it was argued.

Watch video

Leave a Comment