Canada agency prepares for review of 1,027-MW Bute Inlet

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency seeks public comments on draft terms of reference for establishing a federal panel to review the Bute Inlet project, a group of 17 British Columbia hydropower sites totaling 1,027 MW. Comments are due Feb. 18.

Plutonic Power Corp., the project developer, offered the project to BC Hydro’s Clean Power Call in November. (HNN 12/4/08)

Under Canada’s environmental review process, if the Environment minister determines that a project is likely to cause significant adverse effects, he refers it to a federal review panel for further environmental assessment of the project.

If such a referral were to occur, terms of reference would establish a mandate and authority of the federal review panel, its composition, and the process and procedures for conducting the environmental review.

If a review panel is appointed, Canada’s environment minister will finalize the federal terms of reference and release them to the public.

Additionally, CEAA seeks comments, also by Feb. 18, on draft federal-province environmental impact statement guidelines for the project, in cooperation with British Columbia. Joint federal-province EIS guidelines specify the studies to be conducted and information to be provided by the developer to meet federal EIS requirements.

CEAA and British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office are to finalize the EIS guidelines, issue them to the developer, and then make them available to the public.

Written comments on both documents are due Feb. 18 to Marie-France Therrien, Panel Manager, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, 160 Elgin St., 22nd Floor, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3 Canada; E-mail: bute.review@ceaa-acee.gc.ca. The documents are available on the Internet at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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