Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced that the Government of Canada has approved the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) 2021 System Expansion Project with 35 conditions. This decision was based on facts, science, Indigenous knowledge, the public interest and careful consideration of the concerns of potentially impacted Indigenous communities and about wildlife.
In making this decision, the Government of Canada has made amendments to the Canada Energy Regulator’s conditions for approval, related to caribou and Indigenous engagement. In particular, we strengthened five conditions proposed by the regulator and added one new condition in order to better address impacts to section 35 Indigenous rights and help mitigate the disruption of the project’s construction on caribou habitat. As part of these updated conditions, NGTL will now be required to restore 3,840 hectares of caribou habitat (30 times the size of the habitat impacted by the project) and seek to establish an Indigenous Working Group to assist with the planning for restoration and monitoring for the protection of the Little Smoky Caribou range. We also approved a new accommodation measure to expand eligibility for the Terrestrial Cumulative Effects Initiative to monitor the cumulative impacts on the environment.
In total, the proponent must comply with 35 binding conditions related to safety, environmental and wildlife protection, Indigenous engagement, and protection or Indigenous rights and interest.
Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples remains a core priority for the Government of Canada. Over the past 17 months, Natural Resources Canada undertook extensive Crown consultations as part of fulfilling our duty to consult and, where appropriate, accommodate and mitigate potential impacts on the rights and interests of Indigenous communities.
The $2.3-billion project is of significant importance in Alberta and for economies across the country. It will help power the successful restart and recovery of our economy by creating up to 2,920 jobs and contributing about $1.2 billion to Alberta’s GDP. NGTL 2021 will give natural gas producers better access to markets for their products. The Project will also help facilitate the phase out of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to moving forward with good projects that get our resources to new markets and create good jobs, while protecting the environment, species at risk, and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples.
“We want good projects to get done, moving our natural resources to new markets and creating good jobs. This means meeting our duty to meaningfully consult with potentially impacted Indigenous communities and addressing risks to the environment and species at risk, particularily. By taking the time to do the hard work, good projects are being built in Canada.”
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources
The $2.3-billion NGTL project is of significant importance in Alberta and for economies across the country.
It will add 344 kilometres of new pipeline to the existing NOVA Gas Transmission system from west of Red Deer to near Grand Prairie, Alberta.
The project will create up to 2,920 direct jobs during construction and provide natural gas producers and shippers with greater access to domestic and US markets.