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Scotian Offshore Projects Now Require Single Application

New offshore energy projects developed in Nova Scotia will now operate under a more efficient approval process, following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the province's energy minister and the Canadian government Friday.

The new agreement allows a proponent to file a single application for a development, according to Cecil Clarke, Nova Scotia's energy minister. The application triggers all of the regulatory reviews the application must receive, and Scotian authorities hope the new review times will be competitive with other offshore areas around the world.

Clarke said the new agreement "meets industry's concerns that our offshore approval processes are slow and inefficient. It's a significant step toward meeting another of our energy strategy's objectives -- that is to encourage offshore development in an environmentally responsible, sustainable way. This means the reviews happen at the same time, rather than one after the other, as was the case before."

The agreement does not change any environmental performance standards that well developers must meet, and it "will mean more effective public scrutiny of development applications because members of the public will now know that one set of comments will be seen and heard by all of the regulators," said Clarke.

The agreement involves the Nova Scotia departments of Energy and Environment and Labour, four federal departments, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. All are members of the Atlantic Energy Roundtable.

For more information on the agreement, contact John Perkins at the Department of Energy at perkinje@gov.ns.ca.

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