NaiKun decision expected later this month

  • Dec. 2, 2009 5:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–The NaiKun Wind Energy Project’s environmental assessment has been forwarded to the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Energy. The ministers have 45 days from Nov. 16 to review the documents and decide whether or not to approve the project. The project has been in the Environmental Assessment Process for several years. Since May 2009, a formal environmental assessment has been underway with a public comment period, and a technical review of the proponent’s report being undertaken by an EAO working group, says EAO project assessment director Garry Alexander. Federal, provincial and local governments have also had opportunity to review the report and submit comments. NaiKun had to respond to these comments. Comments and their responses are found on the EAO website at http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/. Some comments include: (From Greg Martin, Village Queen Charlotte) “I have concerns that the impacts of sediment transport on the East and North Coasts of Graham Island have not been rigorously considered.” NaiKun replied that “neither erosion patterns nor depositional patterns north of Tlell will be affected by the project. This is based on studies done by others for Dogfish Banks.” Another comment from Fisheries and Oceans Canada was that pile driving operations could induce acoustic trauma in marine mammals with possible effects on hearing, navigation and foraging capability. NaiKun’s had several mitigation strategies including implementing shut down procedures if marine mammals are in the vicinity. Mr. Alexander says the ministers should make their decision by the end of December. He said the federal review process is also ongoing and a decision on whether to approve the EA has to be made by federal officials as well. If the project is approved it will receive an EA certificate and then the proponent must apply for permits to complete the project.