Fisheries Canada finds Equinor’s environmental impact statement for Newfoundland project unreliable for decision making

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) issued last week its review of Equinor’s Bay du Nord development project environmental impact statement (EIS). Equinor Canada Ltd. and its partner Husky Oil Operations Limited are proposing to develop the Bay du Nord field offshore eastern Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) for the production of oil and gas.

The DFO report notes that, “DFO Science encountered several instances in which available information was omitted and/or mischaracterized by the Proponent. As such, the foundation of the EIS and conclusions asserted within the EIS sections reviewed by DFO Science lack credibility.

“In its current form, and until the problems identified in this report are addressed, the EIS is not considered a reliable source of information for decision-making processes.”

According to the report, “baseline information was incomplete and outdated for almost all chapters,” which “installed a bias” and “sometimes led to inappropriate conclusions.”

The study also found a “number of issues with respect to the assessment of risk,” noting that “risks were significantly underestimated” and the “risks of cumulative small events or activities were not assessed.”

In particular, the mitigation measures proposed by Equinor “only encompassed standard industry guidelines with respect to ballast water, offshore waste treatment, chemical usage, sewage and food waste, geophysical surveys, and decommissioning,” rather than the more-stringent requirements for a project in a vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME). Further, mitigation measures “were never committed to or described in detail.”

To complete a technical review of the project, the report said the DFO requires an environmental protection and compliance monitoring plan, information about the environmental effects monitoring program and significant other details from Equinor.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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