The CNSOPB requires that proponents engage with appropriate community groups as part of the application process. The CNSOPB relies in part on engagement completed by the proponent though the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (“CEAA 2012”) process, as well as programs and opportunities undertaken by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“the CEA Agency).
During the environmental assessment process under CEAA 2012, proponents engage with stakeholder groups including First Nations groups, fisheries groups, municipalities, as well as local and regional non-governmental environmental organizations. Shell Canada has included a summary of their consultation efforts, including a log of activities, in Section 3 of their Environmental Impact Statement, which can be found here. Section 5 of the conditions of the Minister of the Environment’s Environmental Assessment Decision Report outlines how Shell Canada must communicate to Aboriginal and commercial fishers during drilling, testing and abandonment of each well. In addition, Section 6 of the conditions outlines how Shell Canada must consult with Aboriginal groups around the development of oil spill contingency planning.
The CEA Agency offered a number of opportunities for the public to comment on different stages of this program. The CEA Agency provided opportunities to comment on the draft Project Description, the draft Guidelines for the Environmental Impact Statement, the draft Environmental Impact Statement, and the draft of the Minister’s Environmental Assessment Decision Report. In addition, the CEA Agency made funds available through the Participant Funding Program and encouraged public and Aboriginal groups to apply for funding that would allow these groups to enhance their comment submissions. For more information on public comment periods and the Participant Funding Process, please visit the CEA Agency website here
The CNSOPB offers public comment periods throughout the lifecycle of an exploration program. Public comment periods and/or community information sessions are held at the following times:
- When the CNSOPB conducts a Strategic Environmental Assessment
- When the CNSOPB announces a Call for Bids
- As part of the CNSOPB – led Environmental Assessment process for any proposed geophysical programs (seismic, seabed surveys, etc.) Public comments on seismic activity for the Shelburne 3D Seismic Survey Project can be found here.
Specific to the Shelburne Basin Venture Drilling Project, the CNSOPB has reached out to and met with representatives from First Nations groups, regional municipalities, regional and local environmental non-government organizations, and the fisheries community. The CNSOPB also accepted comments from the public outside of the above mentioned processes and the CEAA 2012 process.
In addition, the CNSOPB hosts quarterly meetings of the Fisheries Advisory Committee to engage with the fisheries community on offshore oil and gas activity in Nova Scotia. In these meetings, the CNSOPB invites operators and companies proposing activity to give regular updates to representatives the fisheries community. The CNSOPB also discusses relevant Board activity, guidelines and may also feature presentations by CNSOPB staff. For more information on the Fisheries Advisory Committee, please click here.