The Raven Underground Coal Project is the subject of both a provincial and federal environmental assessment (EA). Where feasible, and in the interests efficiency, the two processes are being "harmonized". Despite these efforts, there are still considerable components of the reviews that are done separately, and which can be quite confusing for all parties involved: applicant, regulators, and especially, the public.
1. Provincial Environmental Assessment
- Conducted by the BC Environmental Assessment Office
- Electronic Project Information Centre (e-PIC) home page for the Raven project
- Project Assessment Manager: Shelley Murphy
1st Floor 836 Yates St
PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
Stages of the Provincial EA:
Provincial EAs have three stages: 1. Pre-Application, 2. Application Review, and 3. Ministers Review. The Raven project is in the first, or Pre-Application stage.
The proponent, Compliance Coal Corp., and the EAO, with public input, developed a document referred to as the Application Information Requirements /Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines(AIR/EIS). The AIR/EIS is essentially a list of issues the company must address in its formal Application and Environmental Impact Statement. It was posted on June 7, 2012.
In April 2013, Compliance submitted an Application for review. This was rejected on May 16 2013 by the EAO.
On January 30, 2015, Compliance submitted a revised Application which is currently being evaluated for review by the EAO and its Working Group. The Application must be accepted for review, or rejected, within 30 days - by March 2, 2015. The EAO can extend this screening period at its discretion.
Once the EAO accepts the the Application for review, it will be posted to the EAO and CEAA project registries, marking the beginning of the 180 Application Review stage.
CoalWatch and other organizations concerned about the Raven mine project will be encouraging people to submit comments to the EAO during this period. Please make sure your voice is heard. Once the comment period has ended, there will be no further opportunity for the public to provide any input to the regulatory process.
Notification will also be posted for a 50 day public comment period as well public information meetings in a few locations to be decided by the EAO.
Following the completion of the public comment period, the regulators and Working Group will be reviewing the application in detail. Information requests may be sent to the applicant, and extensions of the 180-day period may be granted.
Nearing the end of the review period, the EAO will write a report and its recommendations for the Ministers Review.
The last stage, the Ministers Review, involves the two Ministers responsible for this application - Minister of Environment, and Minister of Energy and Mines - and their staff, as well as the EAO. There is no opportunity for formal input from the public.
HOWEVER: the Ministers are able to consider, and to give weight to factors which are typically not part of, or are not central to environmental assessments. Two of these are the direct and indirect economic impacts and benefits of the project, and social licence granted by the communities affected.
2. Federal Environmental Assessment
- Conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
- CEA Registry page and CEAR reference number: 10-03-55529
- Project Manager: Rob Hajdu
805 - 1550 Alberni Street
Vancouver BC V6G 1A5
Email: Rob.Hajdu@ceaa-acee.gc.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org
CEAA is required to review those issues with the project that are within federal jurisdiction. Most important of these with the Raven project are fish and migratory birds, and transportation.
Toward the end of the review period, CEAA prepares a draft environmental assessment report on the federal issues also referred to as a Comprehensive Study Report, which is posted for public review. This comment period is not available with the provincial EA report.
Key events of the Federal EA:
24Mar2011: $84,160 has been allocated from the Participant Funding Envelope. News release.
17Nov2010: $432,693 has been allocated in the Aboriginal Participant Funding Envelope. News release.
20Sep2010: Public comment period on federal EA is closed. In terms of public participation, the federal EA becomes opaque until the Comprehensive Study Report is complete, at which time the report will be posted and a public comment period will be opened up.
19Jul2010: An updated Notice of Commencement was posted to the CEAA project registry which advised that CEAA has become the Responsible Authority for a level of review referred to as a Comprehensive Study.