Quebec rejects $ 14 billion natural gas project in Saguenay over environmental concerns


MONTREAL – A $ 14 billion project that would have seen western Canadian natural gas exported to Europe and Asia via Quebec has been rejected by the Quebec government.

Environment Minister Benoit Charette told reporters in Saguenay – the region where a natural gas plant is said to have been built – that the provincial government is not convinced the project would result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse.

“The promoter has failed to demonstrate it, on the contrary,” he said, adding that the government feared discouraging natural gas buyers in Europe and Asia from turning to more energy sources. clean.

“It’s a project that has more drawbacks than benefits,” said Charette.

GNL Quebec had proposed to build a plant in Port Saguenay, Quebec, about 220 kilometers north of Quebec, to liquefy natural gas from Western Canada. The project would also have required the construction of a 780 kilometer pipeline to connect the plant to existing natural gas pipelines in Ontario.

The project was initially favorably received by the government of the Coalition Avenir Québec. Charette said he was predisposed to support the project, but in the end it did not meet the required environmental conditions.

The company said it was disappointed and surprised by the decision.

“Our board of directors will assess the next steps to face this difficult decision which will have an impact on our employees, our investors and our stakeholders,” LNG spokesman Louis-Martin Leclerc said in a statement. sent by email.

LNG had said the plant would be carbon neutral and encourage an overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as natural gas would replace more polluting fuels such as coal and oil. The Quebec Environmental Review Office, however, concluded in March that the estimated reductions were unlikely.

A coalition of environmental groups, including Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation and Greenpeace, said the move was a victory for activists who opposed the project.

“The announcement by the Quebec government of the rejection of the Quebec LNG project demonstrates that there is no future for fossil fuel projects,” the groups said in a statement. Several indigenous communities also opposed the project.

© 2021 The Canadian Press


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