Canada: Funds granted for review of oil duo’s offshore drilling plans

The Canadian government is granting funds for individuals and groups who want to take part in the environmental assessments of ExxonMobil’s and Statoil’s proposed offshore drilling plans in Canada.

ExxonMobil is proposing to conduct an exploration drilling project within offshore exploration licenses located in both the Jeanne d’Arc Basin and the Flemish Pass Basin, approximately 250 kilometers east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. As proposed, the Eastern Newfoundland Offshore Exploration Drilling Project would include the drilling of wells within a 12-year period, starting in 2018. The project would allow ExxonMobil to determine the presence, nature and quantities of the potential hydrocarbon resource.

As for Statoil, the Norwegian firm plans to drill within offshore Exploration Licenses located in the Flemish Pass Basin, approximately 480 kilometers east of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The project would take place over a 10-year period, starting in 2018.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said it was making funding available through its Participant Funding Program to assist the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in the federal environmental assessment of the proposed drilling programs.

Funding is available for eligible individuals and groups to assist their participation in upcoming steps of the environmental assessment, which include reviewing and providing comments on the Environmental Impact Statement or on the summary thereof, the draft Environmental Assessment Report, and the potential environmental assessment conditions.

To be able to take part in participant funding, applicants must “demonstrate the value you will add by participating in an environmental assessment” and meet at least one of the following criteria: Have a direct, local interest in the project, such as living or owning property in the project area; Have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the environmental assessment; Plan to provide expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the project; and/or have an interest in the potential impacts of the project on treaty lands, settlement lands or traditional territories and/or related claims and rights.

The agency said it would consider applications by February 23, 2017. Recipients and the amount of funding allocated will be announced at a later date, the agency said.

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