The proposed Woodfibre liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing and export facility this week cleared its first regulatory hurdle.
The National Energy Board (NEB) on Monday (Dec. 16) approved an export licence for the plant that’s proposed for the site of the old Woodfibre pulp mill. The approval came at the same time that the NEB approved licences for three larger LNG export facilities in Prince Rupert and Kitimat.
The NEB nod, which is for 25 years, is subject to final approval from the federal cabinet. Woodfibre Natural Gas, proponent of the local project, had applied for a licence to export up to 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year on July 23, 2013.
In a separate move, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is seeking input on the question of whether a full federal environmental assessment should be required for the Woodfibre proposal or whether portions of a separate provincial environmental review would suffice.
Byng Giraud, vice president of corporate affairs for Woodfibre Natural Gas, on Tuesday (Dec. 17) said the question is part of a “blended” federal-provincial assessment process. While federal agencies, such as Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, will undoubtedly be involved in the process, federal officials “could substitute the provincial government to oversee portions” of the assessment, Giraud said.
Written comments on that question are being accepted until Jan. 6. They may be mailed to the CEAA, 401-701 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, BC V7Y 1C6, faxed to (604) 666-6990 or emailed to Woodfibre@ceaa-acee.gc.ca
Giraud said proponents expect there will be several opportunities for public input once the actual assessment process is underway, likely in the first half of 2014. For information on the project, visit woodfibrelngproject.ca.