PROJECT AGREEMENT FOR THE SITE C CLEAN ENERGY HYDROELECTRIC GENERATION PROJECT IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

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PREAMBLE

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency(CEA Agency) has commenced an environmental assessment (EA) by a joint review panel pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) for BC Hydro’s (the Proponent) Site C Clean Energy Hydroelectric Generation Project (the Project).

The proposed project consists of constructing and operating a dam and 1100-megawatt hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in north-eastern British Columbia.

The CEA Agency and the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office have agreed to coordinate the federal and provincial EAs to the extent possible pursuant to the Canada-British Columbia Agreement for Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

The Minister of the Environment, Canada (the Minister) and the Minister of the Environment, British Columbia have signed a Joint Review Panel Agreement establishing the terms and conditions of a joint EA to be conducted by a review panel.

Nothing in this Project Agreement (the Agreement) fetters the powers, statutory authorities and functions of federal departments or agencies and their respective Ministers.

The signatories to this Agreement (the Parties) commit to work together to facilitate an effective, accountable, transparent, timely and predictable federal review in relation to the proposed project and to contribute to fulfilling the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal groups.

1.0 PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to provide detailed information pertaining to the federal review process where the EA is conducted by a joint review panel pursuant to CEAA 2012. For further information regarding the federal review process, please refer to The Federal Review Process for Major Projects: Project Agreement Companion Document (PDF, 144 KB).

2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following federal departments and agencies have identified an interest in the Project, and will participate in the federal review:

  • Responsible authority: The CEA Agency will ensure that an EA is conducted and that an EA decision statement is issued;
  • Federal authorities (FAs): Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Transport Canada (TC), Natural Resources Canada, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and the Parks Canada Agency may be in possession of specialist or expert information or knowledge with respect to the Project;
  • Regulatory departments: DFO and TC have regulatory and statutory duties in relation to the Project;
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has advisory responsibilities in relation to the Project to support consistency with the Government of Canada’s Whole of Government approach to Aboriginal consultation activities; and,
  • The Major Projects Management Office will provide oversight and advice throughout the entire federal review in relation to the Project to ensure adherence to the service standards and roles and responsibilities of all Parties as described in the Agreement and the Companion Document.

3.0 ABORIGINAL CONSULTATION

The Parties are committed to a “Whole of Government” approach to Aboriginal consultation that is integrated with the EA and regulatory process, to the extent possible. For more information on the Whole of Government approach, including roles and responsibilities of departments and agencies, as well as coordination during the project review, please refer to Annex I of the Companion Document.

Where applicable, the terms and conditions of all existing agreements or protocols and/or MOUs between the Crown and Aboriginal groups will be respected.

4.0 TIMELINES

Timelines identified in the Agreement represent the time expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies and the joint review panel in carrying out their respective tasks. The timelines do not account for time taken by the Proponent to collect information or undertake a study at the request of the CEA Agency, the joint review panel, or the Minister during the EA, or at the request of regulatory departments during the regulatory phase. The target timelines for the federal review are as follows:

  1. Completion of the EA – 21.5 months (659 days) from the coming into force of CEAA 2012 to the Minister’s EA Decision Statement about whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects:
    1. Time limit 1: 260 days from the coming into force of CEAA 2012 to the establishment of the joint review panel;
    2. Time limit 2: 225 days from the establishment of the joint review panel to the submission of the joint review panel report; and
    3. Time limit 3: 174 days from the submission of the joint review panel report to the Minister issuing the EA Decision Statement.
  2. Regulatory decisions pursuant to the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act – 90 days from the Minister’s EA Decision Statement posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site (CEARIS), assuming submission of all applications no later than the time of the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

5.0 SIGNATORIES

The Parties hereto have signed the Agreement, in counterpart, on the dates indicated below.

Original signed by
Serge P. Dupont
Deputy Minister
Natural Resources Canada
February 22, 2013
Original signed by
Elaine Feldman
President
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
February 27, 2013
Original signed by
Matthew King
Deputy Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
February 28, 2013
Original signed by
Marie Lemay
Associate Deputy Minister
Infrastructure Canada
(on behalf of Louis Lévesque
Deputy Minister, Transport Canada)
April 12, 2013
Original signed by
Bob Hamilton
Deputy Minister
Environment Canada
April 10, 2013
Original signed by
Michael Wernick
Deputy Minister
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
February 27, 2013

Annexes

Annex I - Key Milestones and Service Standards for the Environmental Assessment and Aboriginal Consultation

Annex II - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the EA

Annex III - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase

Annex I

Key Milestones and Service Standards for the Environmental Assessment and Aboriginal Consultation

  Milestone Lead Support As Needed Timeline/Completion Date

1

Post the Notice of Commencement (NoC) on the CEARIS

CEA Agency

FAs

September 30, 2011

2

Refer the EA to a review panel

Minister

CEA Agency

September 30, 2011

3

Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EIS Guidelines

CEA Agency

FAs

April 17, 2012 to June 1, 2012

4

Coming into force of CEAA 2012

CEA Agency

 

Day 0 (July 6, 2012)

5

Finalize the EIS Guidelines and provide to the Proponent

CEA Agency

FAs

Day 1-63 (July 7, 2012 to September 7, 2012)

6

Submit the draft EIS to the CEA Agency

Proponent

CEA Agency, FAs

To be determined by the Proponent

7

Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EIS

CEA Agency

FAs

Process and schedule to be determined in consultation with Aboriginal groups

8

Public comment period on the draft EIS

CEA Agency

 

60 days starting within 7 days after posting the draft EIS on the CEARIS

9

Review and provide comments on the draft EIS to the Proponent

CEA Agency

FAs

Day 64-132 (69 days)

10

Submit the revised EIS to the CEA Agency

Proponent

CEA Agency, FAs

To be determined by the Proponent

11

Review and provide comments on the revised EIS to the Proponent until the CEA Agency deems the EIS satisfactory

CEA Agency, FAs

 

Day 133-259 (127 days)

12

Establish the joint review panel

Minister

CEA Agency

Day 260-260 (1 day)

13

Submit the EIS to the joint review panel

Proponent

CEA Agency, FAs

To be determined by the Proponent

14

Review the EIS and provide information requests to the Proponent, if required

Panel

FAs

Day 261-395 (135 days)

15

Submit additional information to the joint review panel, if required

Proponent

 

To be determined by the Proponent

16

Public and Aboriginal group comment period on additional information, if required

Panel

 

Day 261-395 (135 days)

17

Review additional information, if required, and determine adequacy of information to proceed to hearings

Panel

 

18

Notice of public hearings

Panel

 

19

Prepare for public hearings

Panel

FAs

20

Hold public hearings and manage record

Panel

FAs

21

Submit the joint review panel report to the Minister

Panel

 

Day 396-485 (90 days)

22

Issue the EA Decision Statement

Minister

CEA Agency

Day 486-659 (174 Days)

23

Post the Minister’s EA Decision Statement on the CEARIS

CEA Agency

 

Day 660-666 (7 Days)

Annex II

Gantt Chart - Target Timelines for the EA¹

Gantt Chart - Target Timelines for the EA


¹ The Gantt chart is a baseline against which the timelines, identified in the Agreement expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks for the EA, will be tracked. The timelines do not account for time taken by participants who are not signatories to this Agreement, such as the Proponent, provinces, Aboriginal groups, the public or other stakeholders.

Annex III

Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase²

Gantt Chart - Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase


² The Gantt chart is a baseline against which the timelines, identified in the Agreement expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks for the Regulatory Phase, will be tracked. The timelines do not account for time taken by participants who are not signatories to this Agreement, such as the Proponent, provinces, Aboriginal groups, the public or other stakeholders.