<em>NDP Caucus News Release</em><br> Robert Chisholm, Leader
July 7, 1997

CHISHOLM WANTS STRICT CONDITIONS ON SABLE APPROVAL


     NDP Leader Robert Chisholm says if the panel reviewing the
Sable offshore project believes prompt approval of the project is
required, such approval should include the attachment of
conditions to make the Sable deal a better one for Nova Scotians.

     In a presentation Monday to the Joint Panel hearing final
arguments on the Sable project, Chisholm said the project's
proponents have failed to prove that "the present proposal for
the development of Sable natural gas is a good deal for Nova
Scotia and Nova Scotians."

     "We believe that Nova Scotians would be best served if the
proponents and the Provincial government went back to the drawing
board to devise a better plan for Nova Scotians."

     The NDP Leader noted that the Sable developers have argued
that the viability of the project depends upon prompt approval so
as to take advantage of a narrow window of opportunity in the
Boston market in 1999, but contrary evidence has also been heard.
Chisholm said the Federal-Provincial panel is in the best
position to determine whether a delay would harm the appropriate
development of Nova Scotia's offshore gas resource.

     "However, if it is deemed in the public interest that the
project requires a prompt approval, it should be subject to a
number of conditions that will make it a better deal for Nova
Scotians."

     Among the conditions recommended by the NDP Leader were:
       require that if approval is given, development must
proceed within a few years so as to preclude a re-run of 1983
when Mobil decided not to proceed after receiving the green light
from regulators;
        ensure that the royalty structure provides sufficient
benefit to Nova Scotians;
       ensure that the Nova Scotia job content quotas promised
in the application are made into firm commitments;
      set conditions requiring the proponents to make adequate
natural gas liquids available to nurture a petrochemical industry
in the Strait of Canso area;
       ensure that the proponents will provide access to the
undersea pipeline, at reasonable rates, to other offshore
developers should they emerge.
       ensure that the toll rates on any future gas pipeline to
Cape Breton are no higher than the rate to Halifax.
     
     The NDP Leader also called for the application of stringent
conditions to mitigate the environmental impact of the project,
including:

         ensure that the most thorough baseline studies are in
          place for the offshore environment;

         require the proponents to set up an effective
          monitoring program to assess the environmental impact
          of the project, including impact on people with
          chemical sensitivities;

         establish an accessible compensation scheme for
          fishers;
     
         ensure that measures are in place to protect the Gully
          and Sable Island itself;

         ensure that great care is taken crossing the Strait of
          Canso due to severe seabed pollution; 

         require that the onshore route uses existing corridors
          as much as possible, and is routed so as to avoid
          interference with land claims and/or archaeological
          sites. 

     Chisholm said proper development of the Sable project will
not solve all of Nova Scotia's economic problems, but it will set
a new direction for Nova Scotia, a departure from our history as
"hewers of wood and drawers of water."

     "If we get a good royalty deal, if we can obtain a
meaningful price preference for Nova Scotia consumers, if we can
stimulate the development of secondary processing and if we can
retain control of the future development of our offshore gas we
will have made real progress," said Chisholm. 

     "We would have hoped that the government of Nova Scotia
could have negotiated arrangements with the proponents to further
these goals. Instead they have followed the pattern of the past
and engineered a giveaway of our resources. In the absence of
leadership from our Provincial government, we are calling upon
this panel to do right by Nova Scotians."
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