Government of Canada Releases the Final Decision on the Énergie Saguenay Project
February 7, 2022 — Ottawa —Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
Following a thorough and rigorous assessment, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) concluded in its Environmental Assessment Report that the Énergie Saguenay Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects related to an increase in the pollutant greenhouse gas emissions, marine mammals, including the St. Lawrence beluga whale, and the cultural heritage of the Innu First Nations.
In light of these findings and pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), the project was referred to the Governor in Council to determine whether these significant adverse environmental effects were justified in the circumstances. After careful deliberation and review of available and relevant information, the Governor in Council determined the potential significant adverse effects of the project are not justified in the circumstances.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued a Decision Statement to this effect under CEAA 2012.
The Government of Canada's decision on the project means the required federal authorizations cannot be granted. GNL Québec Inc. cannot proceed with the project without authorizations from the federal government.
This decision does not prevent GNL Québec Inc. from submitting new project proposals and does not preclude potential development. The Government of Canada will continue to support the natural resources sector across the country to stimulate growth and create jobs in a sustainable way.
The Government of Canada would like to thank all participants for their invaluable comments received throughout the environmental assessment process, as well as the various experts for their robust scientific advice. This information allowed the Agency to complete a rigorous Environmental Assessment Report and the Governor in Council to make an informed decision.
"The Government of Canada prides itself on making decisions based on the best available data. Decisions must also balance both economic and environmental considerations, and respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Énergie Saguenay Project underwent a rigorous review that clearly demonstrates that the negative effects the project would have on the environment are in no way justifiable. The government will continue working with Saguenay communities and prospective investors on environmentally sustainable projects that deliver economic benefits for the region."
— The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The project, proposed by GNL Québec Inc., is a natural gas liquefaction complex and export terminal located in the district of La Baie in Saguenay City, Quebec. The project would include natural gas liquefaction facilities with a production capacity of 10.5 million tonnes per year, port infrastructures for marine tanker loading of liquefied natural gas, storage tanks and support infrastructures.
The Énergie Saguenay Project is one of several natural resource projects proposed in Quebec in the last several years. Two such projects, including a gold mine and a lithium mine, are currently undergoing a federal assessment by the Agency. Other projects have been approved, including the Rose Lithium-Tantalum Mining Project (2021), the Akasaba West Copper-Gold Mine Project (2018) and the Whabouchi Mining Project (2017).
The project was subject to an environmental assessment by the Government of Quebec under the Environment Quality Act. The federal government collaborated with the provincial government throughout the process in accordance with the principles of the Canada-Quebec Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation.
Potential future proposals would be assessed in accordance with the Impact Assessment Act, which came into force in August 2019.
The Agency conducted a rigorous, science-based federal environmental assessment. A number of experts from various federal departments participated in the process by providing technical advice and expertise throughout the project's review.
The departments, agencies and organizations that provided this advice were Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Saguenay Port Authority, the Laurentian Pilotage Authority and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Views of the public and of potentially affected communities were collected and taken into account throughout the review process. The Agency also took into account public comments submitted during activities organized by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE). These valuable comments were carefully considered, documented and taken into account in the drafting of the Environmental Assessment Report.
Consultations with Indigenous peoples throughout the environmental assessment were extensive. Five First Nations were involved in the process, and over $143,000 in funding was provided to support their participation in the various steps of the review.
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Impact Assessment Agency of Canada
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