Ministerial Regulatory Proposal related to Offshore Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador — Comment Period on Discussion Paper

News release

The deadline for this consultation has been extended to April 30, 2020 in light of circumstances surrounding COVID-19.

March 4, 2020 — Ottawa — Impact Assessment Agency

Today, the Government of Canada is inviting comments on the Discussion Paper on a Ministerial Regulatory Proposal to Designate Offshore Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador for Exclusion under the Impact Assessment Act (IAA). The proposed regulation will improve the efficiency of the federal assessment process as it applies to offshore oil and gas exploration drilling east of the province while maintaining the highest standards of environmental protection. The purpose of this Discussion Paper is to seek views on the elements to be included in this proposed regulation.

The IAA includes provisions that allow the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to designate projects that would be excluded from the impact assessment requirements. The Minister is proposing that offshore oil and gas exploratory drilling projects be excluded if they meet the conditions of the Ministerial Regulation and if they are proposed in the study area covered by the Regional Assessment of Offshore Oil and Gas Exploratory Drilling East of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On April 15, 2019, the federal Ministers of the Environment and Natural Resources and the provincial Ministers of Natural Resources and Intergovernmental and Indigenous Affairs for Newfoundland and Labrador entered into an Agreement that launched the Regional Assessment. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, has received the final report for this assessment from the Regional Assessment Committee.

One of the objectives of the Regional Assessment was to identify common mitigation and follow-up measures that could be included as part of a Ministerial Regulation applicable to projects proposed within the study area. If projects meet the ongoing requirements of that Ministerial Regulation, they would be exempt from the requirement to undergo project-specific federal impact assessment. Projects would continue to be subject to and be required to comply with requirements found under other federal legislation.

The public and Indigenous groups are invited to share their views on the regulatory proposal by visiting until April 3, 2020.

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