British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office, in the last week, withdrew or terminated the assessments of four major projects that had gone dormant in a process of updating its project portfolio.
One was a potential new coal mine southwest of Tumbler Ridge, two were wind-power farms near Lytton and Fernie, and one a run-of-river hydro project on the Upper Pitt River in the Lower Mainland. None, however, had advanced beyond the pre-application phase of the environmental-assessment process.
It’s all part of “a process to terminate or invite withdrawal of inactive EAs” that the office started in February, according to a report related to one of the proponents.
“This allows (the Environmental Assessment Office) to update its project portfolio and also ensures proponents do not expend effort on resuming an assessment based on process or information requirements that are now out of date,” Ministry of Environment spokesman David Karn said in an emailed statement.
However, it also reflects changing business conditions. Mining projects, for instance, have experienced a collapse of commodity markets that has starved the industry of capital and caused a half-dozen mine closures in B.C. over the past two years.
And the proponents of independent power projects have been hit by the impending impact of B.C.’s decision to build B.C. Hydro’s controversial $9 billion Site C dam on the Peace River, which will dramatically increase power supplies and reduce demand for their offerings.
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