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Noia Says More Clarity Required on New Environmental Assessment Legislation

February 14, 2018 (St. John’s, NL) — Following its successful Annual General Meeting (AGM) held yesterday, the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil & Gas Industries Association, Noia, states the Association will continue to seek clarity on proposed environmental assessment legislation announced by the federal government on February 8, 2018.

“Noia was extremely disappointed that the federal government did not give back Responsible Authority status to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB), which was taken from them in 2010,” said Charlene Johnson, Noia CEO. “The C-NLOPB, through the Atlantic Accord, gave Newfoundland and Labrador equal management of the province’s offshore resources. Last week’s announcement was a missed opportunity to right this wrong by fully restoring that authority to the C-NLOPB now.”

Johnson also noted that the role of the C-NLOPB with respect to environmental assessments going forward is unclear.

“After a lengthy consultation process we are no further ahead and are left with far more questions than answers. The federal government referenced the new Impact Assessment Agency working jointly with the C-NLOPB but how remains to be seen. The biggest question and cause for concern is, does jointly mean equally as it was previously?  Let’s not forget there is already a joint process in place – it’s called the C-NLOPB. The federal government seems to want a joint process with an already joint process.”

Noia views the announcement with trepidation. Many questions remain around centralization of the process and the potential for unnecessary duplication and it appears that it will take some time before those answers are forthcoming.

“What will be the role of the C-NLOPB? What will be the role of the new Impact Assessment Agency office? What is the process for determining designated projects on the project list? How and when will the new regional assessments be conducted? These are only a few of the many questions we need answers to. The last thing needed now is the unknown and uncertainty this new process brings and the potential slow down in exploration because of added bureaucracy. We must remain globally competitive.”

Johnson concluded by noting that Noia will participate fully in the public consultation process and will remain involved in the development of the regulations. “Our primary goal is the continued exploration of our offshore and we will hold governments’ feet to the fire to ensure just that.”