Environmental Assessments FAQ

Still have questions about the Environmental Assessment process? Check out these Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

What gets assessed in an Environmental Assessment?

All potential environmental, health, social, cultural heritage, and economic impacts of the project get assessed during an Environmental Assessment (EA) process. In order to do an EA, the proponent must carry out studies on important issues such as impacts to marine mammals, atmospheric pollution, impacts to fishing and marine traffic, and many other topics of concern. Both project proponents and government must also work with Metlakatla to assess the potential impacts of the project on Metlakatla rights and work to mitigate or accommodate any impacts on Metlakatla specifically. 

How does Metlakatla First Nation voice their concerns?

Metlakatla Stewardship Office staff meets regularly with industry proponents and government and sit on a ‘Working Group’ for all Environmental Assessments occurring within the Territory. Metlakatla contributes to the EA review process by conducting our own studies, reviewing the findings of the proponent studies with the support of experts, and helping gather data in the field with the participation of our Guardian Watchmen and other Metlakatla technicians. Metlakatla has the opportunity to review applications, add comments, express opposition and insist on restrictions for the proponent to follow during construction and operation of the project.

How can I voice my concerns?

There are various opportunities for Metlakatla members to review and express their concerns on projects undergoing an Environmental Assessment.

Members are welcome to contact the Environmental Assessment Coordinator for the Metlakatla Stewardship Office at any time during a project review. The Coordinator can be reached in the offices at Metlakatla, at (250) 628 3315, or by email at ausborne@metlakatla.ca.

During any provincial or federally led EA review, there are also opportunities to submit comments directly to the government regulators. Formal comment periods occur twice during EA reviews, once when the requirements of the application are being designed, and once to review the final assessment and recommendations of the government. Opportunities for public comment are listed in local newspapers, on agency websites (below), and copies of the materials for projects near Prince Rupert are kept at the Prince Rupert Public Library for anyone to access.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Public comment page: https://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/participation-eng.cfm?type=

BC Environmental Assessment Office Public comment page: https://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/participation-eng.cfm?type=1

Who makes the final decision?

The provincial or federal governments make the final decision to approve a proposed project. After the proponent has made the necessary changes to the project application based on First Nation and public comments, the EA agency submits their final assessment report it to the provincial or federal Ministers of Environment and other applicable ministers who makes the final decision. They can either (a) approve the project, (b) reject the project, or (c) ask for further assessment.

The Metlakatla Stewardship Office provides final recommendations and comments to the government prior to a decision, but the government does not have to adhere to Metlakatla’s recommendations. 

What happens if a project application is approved?

If the project is approved, the approval will come with legally-binding conditions that tell the proponent how the project must be designed and constructed. The proponent must follow these conditions along with all of the commitments the proponent has made to First Nations during the EA process.

If a project receives Environmental Assessment approval, it does not necessarily mean the project will be built. The project proponent must still make a Final Investment Decision (FID), based on the requirements of their company. Should a positive FID be made by a company, they are required to develop according to the conditions of their Environmental Assessment certificate. 

Want more information?

If you are a Metlakatla member, and have concerns regarding proposed development in the territory, or would like more information, please contact Anna Usborne, Environmental Assessment Coordinator at (250) 628 3315 or email ausborne@metlakatla.ca