Feds haven't received funding application for Goldboro LNG project, says MP

·3 min read
A sign at the site in Goldboro, N.S., of a proposed $13-billion liquefied natural gas plant. The company behind the project, Pieridae, has set June 30 as its deadline for whether to move forward. (Nic Meloney/CBC - image credit)
A sign at the site in Goldboro, N.S., of a proposed $13-billion liquefied natural gas plant. The company behind the project, Pieridae, has set June 30 as its deadline for whether to move forward. (Nic Meloney/CBC - image credit)

On the deadline day for the controversial Goldboro LNG project, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser said the federal government has not received a funding application from Pieridae Energy and that there is no "imminent decision" coming.

"To my knowledge, there is not a formal application that has been submitted," Fraser said.

A leaked PowerPoint presentation previously obtained by CBC News revealed the company had asked the federal government to provide a $925 million "grant, repayable contribution, or loan guarantee."

The proposed project would import natural gas from Alberta to Guysborough County, N.S., where it would be liquefied and then shipped to buyers in Germany.

Pieridae Energy spokesperson James Millar said in an email that June 30 is the company's deadline for when it will decide whether the project moves forward.

Pieridae Energy
Pieridae Energy

Opponents to the project include environmentalists who say the project would destroy any chance of Nova Scotia meeting its emissions targets and Mi'kmaw groups who say the project's proposed 5,000-person workcamp would threaten the safety of Mi'kmaw women and girls.

On June 15, members of a group called Responsible Energy Action (REA) and a representative of the Council of Canadians met with Fraser to discuss their concerns about the project and Pieridae's request for funding.

Robin Tress of the Council of Canadians said despite meetings with several other MPs Pieridae had lobbied, she had yet to receive any direct responses about the funding request. She said it was good to hear from Fraser that the request is not on the table.

Millar declined to comment on whether the company had any other possible investors on board or what would happen if the company is unable to obtain funding from the federal government.

Millar did say in an email in May that Pieridae approached the federal government for funding because "COVID and other factors have made it extremely difficult to raise development capital." He has also previously stated that launching the Goldboro LNG project without federal funding "would be difficult."

Fraser said with the increasing availability of renewable energy options, he has some questions about the long-term future of certain fossil fuels.

Pieridae Energy
Pieridae Energy

"We're trying very hard to move away from the use of taxpayers' money to increase fossil fuel production," Fraser said.

Fraser added that a funding application for Goldboro LNG could not be considered until environmental and regulatory processes have been completed.

Ian Cameron, a spokesperson for Natural Resources Canada, confirmed on June 29 that there has been no formal application from Pieridae for the construction or reconfiguration of pipelines that would move the gas from Western Canada to the East Coast.

Regulatory processes

Although Pieridae has maintained they would be using existing pipelines that would require modifications, Fraser said Pieridae would still have to submit its plan for verification by the Canada Energy Regulator.

Once that paperwork is filed, it would be looked at by the regulator or the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

"I would not say that there's any decisions [that] are going to be taken within a couple of weeks for a process that hasn't been triggered," Fraser said.

"If you look at an environmental impact assessment, these things can sometimes take a couple of years."

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