The environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Grieg salmon aquaculture project proposed for Marystown and Placentia Bay has been accepted by government staff, marking the next step in the review.
The extensive documentation making up the EIS is now being offered to the public for comment.
It includes a roughly 600-page main submission on the aquaculture project by the company, but also detailed “component studies” covering a range of sub-topics, from the specific type of sea cages proposed, to the local fish habitat and cultural importance of the waters of Placentia Bay.
The EIS documentation is available on the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment website, under the Environmental Assessment tab (https://bit.ly/2jCHrlO). The Telegram is reviewing the documents.
After 50 days to allow for public review and response, the minister will then have 20 additional days to return a decision on whether or not to approve the project, and under what conditions.
At the Confederation Building on Tuesday, Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Andrew Parsons told reporters the decision will be brought to cabinet.
He encouraged anyone concerned with the project — pro or con — to file their points with the government over the next 50 days.
Generally speaking, the project as proposed by Grieg NL Nurseries Ltd. and Grieg NL Seafarms Ltd. includes plans to build and operate a hatchery for Atlantic salmon in Marystown, with sea-based fish farming at multiple sites in Placentia Bay.
It has been in development since 2015, hitting a legal barrier when an initial decision to release the development from environmental assessment was challenged in the courts.
While the legal wranglings continue, the province did re-start the assessment process and laid out a path for the company to proceed, by completing a more detailed environmental review, including the costly EIS requirements not required last time around.
“That (court challenge) will be parallel to this,” Parsons said.
“That court decision, which will continue on, and I won’t discuss it, but let’s just say it has more implications than just Grieg. That goes far beyond than just what happens in Placentia Bay.”