HALIFAX/ TRADITIONAL TERRITORY OF THE MI’KMAQ PEOPLE — Environmental groups are pausing their legal challenge of a highway realignment central to the proposed Goldboro LNG (liquified natural gas) project in Nova Scotia. The decision comes after Pieridae Energy, the company behind the proposed project, pulled up stakes in the province, listing its Goldboro subsidiary with its associated assets, licenses, and permits for sale.
The Ecology Action Centre and the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), represented by Ecojustice, celebrated a victory in their case last year. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned a decision by a lower court, granting the groups public interest standing to challenge the provincial approval of the highway realignment. The groups are prepared to continue the case in the event a new proponent purchases the land and attempts to resurrect the Goldboro LNG project.
Goldboro LNG was fraught with difficulties from the outset. At multiple junctures, Pieridae Energy failed to secure the funding needed to move the project forward, including a request for nearly $1 billion in financing from the federal government in 2021. Later that year, Pieridae shelved the project citing cost pressures before ultimately jumping ship late last year.
As the world faces increasing harms and costs from climate change, it is only becoming clearer that new fossil fuel projects like Goldboro LNG are not environmentally or financially viable. Recently, US President Joe Biden announced a freeze on all new LNG permits as officials assess the climate, energy security, and market effects.
James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, lawyer, Ecojustice said:
“New fossil fuel projects like Goldboro LNG have no place in a climate-safe future. While Pieridae pulling out of the project is certainly a win, the threat remains another oil giant could pick up where they left off. Canada must take concerted action to halt new fossil fuel development that will lock provinces and Canada at large into further dependence on fossil fuels at a time when the science demands we transition away from them.
“Global demand for fossil fuels is projected to peak before the end of the decade. As the long-term financial and climate viability of fossil fuels becomes increasingly untenable, we are seeing more and more projects paused, like Equinor’s offshore megaproject Bay du Nord, or abandoned altogether, like Goldboro LNG.”
Jim Emberger, spokesperson, New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance said:
“Regardless of whatever other effects result from the Biden decision, it is the first real action to limit greenhouse gas emissions by not pursuing projects that impact negatively on the climate. It embodies the reasoning behind the COP28 agreement and signals a transition away from fossil fuels that should set a precedent for all countries.
“We certainly hope it discourages new investments in climate-wrecking LNG in Goldboro and elsewhere. Let’s all hope that it portends an era of taking climate issues with the seriousness they require.”
Maggy Burns, executive director, Ecology Action Centre said:
“Pieridae Energy pulling out of the Goldboro LNG project is a pivotal moment in the fight to safeguard our climate. The decision underscores that in a climate crisis, new fossil fuel projects are no longer viable from either an environmental or financial standpoint.
“The EAC has fought for decades against dangerous, short-sighted fossil fuel projects and the threat they pose to our health and our climate. Should the prospect of a fossil fuel terminal at Goldboro resurface, so will our court challenge. The EAC will continue to advocate for proven energy solutions that are clean, affordable and reliable, and will continue to oppose projects like Goldboro LNG, which could mean more pipelines, more spills, more tanker traffic along our coasts and more threats to our climate, our ecosystems and our communities.”