The Ministry of Natural Resources has announced that the Government of Canada approved the NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) 2021 System Expansion Project with 35 conditions. The project is part of a natural gas gathering and transportation system that spans much of Alberta and parts of northeast British Columbia.
The $2.3-billion project is said to be significantly important 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, the federal government says.
NGTL 2021 will give natural gas producers better access to markets for their products, it says, adding that the Project will also help facilitate the phase out of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
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, it 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. The government 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.