Decision Statement

Issued Under Section 54 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

To

Cenovus Energy Inc.
500 Centre Street SE
P.O. Box 766
Calgary, AB T2P 0M5

In accordance with section 54 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), this Decision Statement with respect to the EnCana Shallow Gas Infill Development Project in the Suffield National Wildlife Area (the Project) is issued by the Minister of the Environment to Cenovus Energy Inc., the proponent of the project.

Description of the Project

Cenovus Energy Inc. (previously EnCana Corporation), the project proponent, proposes to develop up to 1,275 shallow gas wells and associated infrastructure over a three year period within the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Suffield National Wildlife Area (NWA) in southern Alberta. The project is an "infill" project which would more than double the number of existing wells in the area.

Requirement for a Federal Environmental Assessment

The environmental assessment of the Project was commenced under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the former Act) and was referred to a review panel by the Minister of the Environment under section 29 of the former Act.

In accordance with subsection 40(2) of the former Act, the Minister of the Environment entered into an agreement with the Chairman of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board respecting the joint establishment of a review panel to review the environmental effects the Project.

CEAA 2012 came into force on July 6, 2012. In accordance with section 126 of CEAA 2012, the assessment by a review panel of the Project commenced under the process established under the former Act, before the day on which the CEAA 2012 came into force, has been continued under the process established under CEAA 2012 as if the environmental assessment had been referred by the Minister to a review panel under section 38 of CEAA 2012, and the Project is considered to be a designated project for the purposes of CEAA 2012.

In accordance with paragraph 126(1)(b) of CEAA 2012, the agreement entered into, before the day of the coming into force of CEAA 2012, under subsection 40(2) of the former Act in respect of the Project is considered to have been entered into under section 40 of CEAA 2012.

In accordance with paragraph 126(1)(c) of CEAA 2012, the review panel established, before the day of the coming into force of CEAA 2012, by an agreement entered into under subsection 40(2) of the former Act, is considered to have been established by – and its members are considered to have been appointed under - an agreement entered into under section 40 of CEAA 2012.

In accordance with subsection 126(2) of CEAA 2012, the Minister of the Environment established a time limit of 150 days within the coming into force of CEAA 2012 for the issuance of a Decision Statement under section 54 of CEAA 2012 in respect of the Project.

Decision on Environmental Effects

In accordance with paragraph 52(1)(a) of CEAA 2012, the Minister of the Environment has decided, after taking into account the review panel's report with respect to the environmental assessment and the implementation measures that he considered appropriate, that the Project:

  • is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects referred to in subsection 5(1) of the CEAA 2012.

In accordance with paragraph 52(1)(b) of CEAA 2012, the Minister of the Environment has decided, after taking into account the review panel's report with respect to the environmental assessment and the implementation measures that he considered appropriate, that the Project:

  • is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects referred to in subsection 5(2) of the CEAA 2012.

In accordance with subsection 52(2) of CEAA 2012, the Minister of the Environment referred the matter of whether the significant adverse environmental effects referred to in subsection 5(1) are justified in the circumstances to the Governor in Council.

In accordance with subsection 52(4) of CEAA 2012, the Governor in Council decided, as referenced in Order in Council #2012-1612, that the significant adverse environmental effects that the Project is likely to cause are not justified in the circumstances, and therefore pursuant to section 6 of CEAA 2012, Cenovus Energy inc. must not do any act or thing in connection with the carrying out of the Project, in whole or in part, if that act or thing may cause an environment effect referred to in subsection 5(1) of CEAA 2012.

Issued this 30th day of November, 2012, in Ottawa, Ontario.

Date modified: