Environmental groups suspend legal challenge as Goldboro LNG project halted

US president announced a freeze on all new liquified natural gas permits

Environmental groups suspend legal challenge as Goldboro LNG project halted

Environmental organizations have temporarily halted their legal action against a highway realignment project integral to the proposed Goldboro LNG (liquified natural gas) facility in Nova Scotia.

This pause follows the withdrawal of Pieridae Energy, the company behind Goldboro LNG, which recently announced the sale of its subsidiary and associated assets in the province.

The Ecology Action Centre and the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance (NBASGA), represented by the environmental law organization Ecojustice, previously achieved a significant legal victory when the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned a lower court's ruling, affirming the groups' right to challenge the provincial approval of the highway realignment on public interest grounds. This legal standing allows them to proceed with their case should any new party attempt to revive the Goldboro LNG project.

Pieridae Energy encountered numerous obstacles in advancing the Goldboro LNG project, notably failing to secure the necessary funding, including a significant financing request to the federal government in 2021. Facing escalating costs, the company eventually abandoned the project in late 2021.

According to Ecojustice, the discontinuation of the Goldboro LNG project comes amid growing global recognition of the environmental and financial unsustainability of new fossil fuel developments. Recently, US President Joe Biden announced a freeze on all new LNG permits as officials assess the climate, energy security, and market effects.

Jim Emberger, a spokesperson for the NBASGA, praised the Biden administration's decision as a significant step toward mitigating climate change, aligning with the objectives of the recent COP28 agreement and signalling a crucial shift away from fossil fuels.

James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, an Ecojustice lawyer, emphasized the incongruity of new fossil fuel projects with a sustainable climate future “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,” Klaassen said.

Maggy Burns, the Executive Director of the Ecology Action Centre, described Pieridae Energy's withdrawal as a critical moment in climate activism. “The decision underscores that in a climate crisis, new fossil fuel projects are no longer viable from either an environmental or financial standpoint,” Burns said.

Ecojustice emphasized that environmental groups remain vigilant, prepared to re-engage in legal proceedings if the threat of the Goldboro LNG project is resurrected, continuing their advocacy for sustainable and climate-friendly energy policies.

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