The Vopak Pacific Canada project has been granted an environmental assessment certificate (E.A.C.) for a proposed Ridley Island liquified petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MECCS) announced, on April 20.
The permit issued to Vopak Development Canada has stipulations attached should the federal government determine the plan can go ahead, the ministry stated in a press release.
The proposed Vopak venture would include unloading platforms for bulk liquid gasses such as propane, butane, and ethane, as well as methanol, light diesel and gasoline which would be transported to the facility from across the country. Transportation would use existing CN rail lines as well as the rail loop on Ridley Island. The project will also have docking berths on a new offshore jetty for export use.
“Vopak estimates that direct expenditures during construction would total $885 million over two years, with approximately 250 full-time equivalent jobs within B.C., 70 of them local to the site,” MECCS stated. “Vopak estimates direct expenditures during operations of approximately $29 million per year within B.C., and the creation of approximately 39 direct jobs (30 local) annually within B.C.”
Ridley Island is in the territories of Gitga’at, Gitxaała, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams Nations, and is on federal lands in federal jurisdiction, the media statements reads.
The ministry stated in their decision, that the ministers considered the Environmental Assessment Office’s assessment report and the chief executive assessment officer’s recommendation to issue a certificate. The decision, with conditions, was issued by George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Bruce Ralston, B.C’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
In making the decision to issue the certificate, they also considered consultation and reviews by First Nations, input from public engagement and submissions from non-governmental organizations. In addition, ongoing federal approvals still required for the project to proceed and areas of primary federal and provincial jurisdiction were considered, MECCS stated.
Specific conditions and design parameters under the E.A.C. must be met if the project makes forward momentum. The ministry stated the ministers determined the unlikelihood of any significant adverse effects occurring regarding the areas under provincial jurisdiction.
The legally binding caveats attached to the certificate include:
- developing a plan for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to be prepared in consultation with the Climate Action Secretariat, taking into consideration the Province’s legislated emission reduction targets and related schedules and policies;
- creating a project website that provides information such as current project status, how to submit questions or concerns, upcoming public engagement activities and descriptions of activities related to each project phase;
- participating in initiatives to monitor, assess and manage the project’s cumulative effects, if requested by the EAO;
- and reporting at regular intervals its involvement with the Community Services and Infrastructure Committee, to address potential project effects related to economic conditions, community services and infrastructure and community well-being. The report must include consultation with First Nations and consider adaptive mitigations if required.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy stated many of the concerns identified by First Nations and the public during consultation and engagement fall under federal jurisdiction, such as rail transport and marine shipping. Ministers have written to federal regulators recommending concerns regarding the impacts of potential spills and increased rail and marine traffic be addressed in the parallel federal review process currently underway, or through other government actions.
“The EAO examined the potential impacts of the project on Indigenous rights and title and consulted with Gitga’at, Gitxaała, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams during the environmental assessment. The EAO also engaged the public throughout the process, with three separate public comment periods, and required Vopak to report on how it was addressing public concerns,” the statement read.
“As a result of feedback from the technical working group, the public and First Nations, Vopak made substantive changes to the project design during the environmental assessment. This includes excluding dredging from the project design and changing vessel mooring to minimize disturbance of the seafloor to reduce potential harm to local fish and marine life,” MECCS stated.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multi-Media Journalist
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