Bute Inlet Project referred to Joint Panel Review
Canadaís Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced today that the proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project located about 150 km north of Powell River in British Columbia will undergo an environmental assessment by a federal review panel. The Minister's decision of May 5, 2009, follows a request from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The federal terms of reference to establish the review panel and the federal-provincial guidelines for the preparation of the environmental impact statement are being issued. The documents were finalized following recent consultations with First Nations and the public.
The Panelís terms of reference provide information on the scope of the environmental assessment, on the process for conducting the review, as well as further details on the timelines associated with the key steps of the panel review.
The federal-provincial guidelines provide direction to the proponent and identify the information that will be required in the environmental impact statementóthe key document which will outline the details of the project, its anticipated effects on the environment and the proposed measures to
The federal environmental assessment process will be coordinated to the extent possible with the provincial process in order to minimize duplication and increase efficiency and effectiveness.
The Agency will make funding available to assist First Nations and the public to participate in the environmental assessment process. Availability of participant funding will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Panelís terms of reference and the guidelines, along with more information on the project is available on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet site at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, reference number 09-03-44825.
To obtain information on the review process, or to register as an interested party and be kept informed of the developments of the environmental review, call 1-866-582-1884 or provide a mailing or e-mail address to the attention of:
Panel Manager, Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project
The next steps in the review process include:
* Announcement of the availability of participant funding: May 2009
All documents related to this environmental assessment can be viewed on the project public registry at the following link:
From the Panel Terms of Reference:
Review of the Environmental Impact Statement
Within 30 days of completion of the public review of the EIS, the panel, taking into consideration the comments received and its own review of the EIS, will determine if the EIS contains sufficient information to proceed to public hearing.
If the panel determines that the EIS contains sufficient information to proceed to public hearing, it will schedule and announce the hearing in accordance with the procedures set out in these Terms of Reference.
If the panel determines that there are significant information deficiencies, such that the EIS is not sufficient to proceed to public hearing, the panel will issue a deficiency statement requesting additional information which the proponent will provide. At the same time the panel will place the deficiency statement on the public registry and make it available to the public.
Determination of the Adequacy of Additional Information
Upon completion of the public review of the additional information, the panel, taking into consideration the comments received and its own review of the additional information, will determine within 45 days of receipt of the additional information, if the EIS, supplemented by the additional information, is sufficient to proceed to public hearing. The procedures described above will apply until such time as the panel determines that the EIS contains sufficient information to proceed to public hearing.
Once completed, the panel report will be submitted to the Minister of the Environment and the responsible authorities and will be made available to the public.
The panel will submit its report within 90 days following the completion of the public hearing.