B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office and Oil and Gas Commission Enter into MOU to Streamline Approval Process for LNG Projects

BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) intended to streamline environmental assessments and permitting for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other reviewable projects by reducing duplication and improving timelines.

Many oil and gas projects are subject to regulation by both the EAO and the OGC.  Under the MOU, the agencies will coordinate their respective activities and share information with a view to making the regulatory regime for LNG projects more efficient and predictable.

According to the BC government and the terms of the MOU, the MOU will improve the regulatory process by providing that the OGC and the EAO will, among other things:

  • share information to eliminate the need for companies to submit the same reports to both agencies;
  • invite each other to attend meetings with LNG project proponents, as appropriate;
  • work with companies to identify opportunities for environmental assessments with the EAO and permitting reviews with the OGC to run concurrently, reducing the overall time required to authorize a project (either under legislated timelines for concurrent permitting or a flexible synchronous approach that is not subject to legislated decisions or timelines);
  • attend meetings together and share information to ensure a comprehensive ‎and respectful approach to First Nations’ engagement;
  • conduct joint inspections for a co-ordinated approach to compliance with environmental assessment certificate and permit conditions; and
  • ensure flexibility while leveraging the strengths of each agency to ensure effective use of resources.

Despite the new collaboration between the EAO and the OGC, the MOU does not result in the delegation of any authority from one agency to another or limit the ability of either agency to exercise discretion under its respective legislation or other applicable enactments.

The EAO and the OGC intend to implement the MOU immediately and will communicate with industry and others about the implications for of the MOU for the many LNG projects proposed in British Columbia.

BC’s Environmental Assessment Office EAO LNG Projects memorandum of understanding MOU OGC Oil and Gas Commission

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