UPDATE: Federal review of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s Lelu Island terminal put on hold

The federal environmental review of Pacific NorthWest LNG's Lelu Island terminal has been put on hold once again.

The federal environmental review of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s Lelu Island terminal has been put on hold once again by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

The federal body posted an update on the project website on June 2 indicating it had asked Pacific NorthWest LNG to provide further information “in order to respond to the Agency’s information request of February 23, 2015” — a request that included examining the project’s potential impact to sediment transport, hydrodynamic changes and the effects of those on fish and fish habitat on Flora Bank.

In response to the request, the company undertook a 3D modelling study using Delft3D methodology that looked at sediment movement during a five-year period and in the conditions of a 20 and 50 year storm. That study “does not indicate a net change in erosion or deposition patterns, nor does the model suggest long-term loss of sand or increased sedimentation of Flora Bank by fine silt materials”.

However, CEAA said more information is needed for the assessment.

“On June 2, 2015, the Agency sent a follow-up letter to the proponent, Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd., indicating that, in the view of the Agency and federal experts at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada, more detailed 3D modeling information is required to complete the environmental assessment and prepare the report with respect to the environmental effects of the Project. Although many aspects of the previous information request have been addressed, the 3D modeling work requires updating to increase certainty in the results. Other information is also required to meet the requirements identified in the Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines as they relate to, effects on current use of Aboriginal fisheries for traditional purposes, effects on marine mammals and effects of dredged material disposal,” said spokesperson Kate Fish in a written statement.

“The Agency appreciates the commitment shown by the proponent to ensure a thorough and credible environmental assessment can be completed and acknowledges the significant progress that has been made to date. The Agency continues to work on the environmental assessment with the available information.  The Agency is committed to completing a science-based federal environmental assessment of the Project well-informed by public and Aboriginal participation, within the legislated timeline.”

While the clock may be stopped on the environmental assessment, Pacific NorthWest LNG senior corporate affairs advisor Spencer Sproule said the company is keeping very active on assessment work.

“Pacific NorthWest LNG will continue to work constructively and diligently with the regulator, area First Nations and other stakeholders to answer outstanding questions regarding our Environmental Impact Statement,” he said.

“In parallel, this work will complement our record of extensive consultation with area residents, stakeholders and First Nations that has resulted in significant design changes to the project.”