An environmental review has backed a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas megaproject that could create thousands of jobs in Guysborough County, N.S.

The province’s panel recommends the LNG plant should go ahead. It would cost between $3 billion and $8 billion. 

The panel was appointed to conduct a Class Two Environmental Assessment, the province's most rigorous. It presented its report to Environment Minister Randy Delorey this week.

"We have carefully reviewed the information provided and input received, and the panel has recommended that this project proceed, with a number of conditions," Tony Blouin, chairman of the panel, said Friday.

It said a public hearing was not required as there were two periods for written public comments.

The project would include:

  • An LNG facility
  • A 180 megawatt gas-fired power plant
  • A water supply intake and pipeline for a potable water supply from a nearby lake
  • A marine wharf and jetty

The plant would be located within the Goldboro Industrial Park. 

The project site is now forest, waterways, wetlands and coastline. The wharf and jetty would extend into Isaac’s Harbour, which includes habitat for lobster, fish and sea urchins.

The report said the majority of impacts would be “minimal to moderate”, but would result in a number of “residual effects.” It would:

  • Increase Nova Scotia’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 18 per cent above 2010 emission levels
  • Compromise the marine component of a number of fisheries in its general area
  • Generate significant economic input and employment opportunities in the area

It said the risks are manageable and the project would have an “extremely significant” effect on the area’s economy. 

Delorey has until March 24 to issue a decision.

Pieridae Energy is behind the proposal. A German electrical utility has signed on as a customer, but the project needs to secure natural gas before it goes any further.