Mi'kmaq band drops objection to proposed Goldboro LNG plant
Utility and review board moves ahead on Pieridae Energy's application for a permit to build facility
A Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq band has dropped its objection to the proposed Goldboro liquefied natural gas plant in Guysborough County.
The province's utility and review board scheduled a hearing for Oct. 15 after Sipekne'katik First Nation said earlier this year it had not been properly consulted as required under law.
In a letter to the board dated Sept. 28, Sipekne'katik Chief Michael Sack said the band was formally withdrawing its objection and would not be submitting any further evidence to the board.
"Sipekne'katik is satisfied that any Aboriginal and treaty rights ... will not be diminished or impinged" by the project, Sack wrote.
The letter did not elaborate on why the band was withdrawing its objection and the chief did not return calls for comment.
The band office is located in Indian Brook, N.S., about 250 kilometres west of the proposed LNG site, but Sack has said all along the First Nation never surrendered any of its traditional territory.
The LNG developer, Pieridae Energy of Calgary, said last month in a board filing that any delay beyond Sept. 28 could jeopardize the project.
In a letter dated Sept. 28, Pieridae acknowledged Sipekne'katik's withdrawal of its objection, and asked that the hearing be cancelled because no other objections exist.
Pieridae pushes for application
"We would therefore ask that the board continue with the merits of Pieridae's permit to construct application," the filing said.
The Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs told CBC News in an email last month that it has held "ongoing consultation with Sipekne'katik about the project."
After the band withdrew its objection, the province wrote the board and said that it "supports the board moving forward with the merits of Pieridae's permit to construct application without delay."
Pieridae now has until Oct. 19 to respond to a tentative approval for a licence to build the plant.
The tentative green light was given Sept. 27, when the board's certifying authority, Lloyd's Register of Halifax, said in a report that Pieridae could go ahead with certain conditions.
The conditions include following federal and provincial regulations and allowing Lloyd's Register to inspect the construction, among other things.
Company nearly ready to proceed
Pieridae has said it's nearly ready to make a final investment decision on its proposed plant, but it needs a building permit first.
The company has proposed building a liquefaction plant for natural gas from the nearby Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline. Product would then be delivered to customers by ship.
No one from Pieridae returned CBC News calls for comment.