Aug 02, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – A US$14-billion project that would have seen natural gas from Western Canada exported to Europe and Asia through Quebec, has been rejected by the government of Quebec amid environmental concerns. The project had seen mass opposition from a variety of environmental and indigenous groups.
According to Canadian based media house, The Canadian Press, Quebec’s Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette said, the provincial government is not convinced the proposed natural gas project in Saguenay would lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking to the local press, the minister said “the promoter has not succeeded in demonstrating [that the project would reduce greenhouse gases.” He added that the government is also worried it would discourage natural gas buyers in Europe and Asia from moving to cleaner energy sources, stating that “this is a project that has more disadvantages than advantages.”
GNL Quebec had proposed building a plant in Port Saguenay, Quebec, about 220 kilometres north of Quebec City, to liquefy natural gas from Western Canada. The project would have also required the construction of a 780-kilometre pipeline to connect the plant to existing natural gas pipelines in Ontario.
The project had initially been greeted positively by the Québec government. The Canadian Press had stated that Charette previously said he was predisposed to support the project, but in the end, it didn’t meet the required environmental conditions.
GNL spokesman Louis-Martin Leclerc registered the company’s surprise and disappointment with the decision in an emailed statement which stated, “Our board of directors will evaluate the next steps to deal with this difficult decision that will have an impact on our employees, our investors and our stakeholders.”
GNL had said the plant would be carbon neutral and would encourage an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, because natural gas would replace dirtier fuels such as coal and oil. Quebec’s environmental review board, however, concluded in March that the estimated reductions were unlikely to occur.
A coalition of environmental groups, including Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace, said the decision was a victory for activists who had opposed the project. “The Quebec government’s announcement of the rejection of the GNL Quebec project demonstrates that there is no future for fossil fuel projects,” the groups said in a statement. Several Indigenous communities had also opposed the project.
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