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article imageCanso spaceport project on hold over environmental concerns

By Tim Sandle     Aug 25, 2018 in Environment
Canso - Nova Scotia's environment minister has asked for a rethink in relation to the Canso spaceport. The company have been told to go back to drawing board so that the government can better understand the potential for significant environmental effects.
Margaret Miller has indicated that she is unable to make a decision about green-lighting the rocket launch which is proposed to be be located site near Canso, Nova Scotia, Canada. This is due to the company fronting the project - Maritime Launch Services - not being able to provide the Canadian government with what it feels is sufficient information.
Miller has requested that Maritime Launch Services engage in further studies and put together a more detained report in order "to better understand the potential for adverse effects or significant environmental effects." This is because the environmental review drew concerns relating to: "the potential impacts of the Project on: water resources, soil, air quality, noise, flora and fauna, fish and fish habitat, protected areas and parks, human health and contingency planning."
The company behind the launch site proposal - Maritime Launch Services - is a Canadian space transport services company. The aim is to use Ukrainian Cyclone-4M rockets by Yuzhnoye to launch commercial satellites into polar and sun synchronous orbits from Canso, Nova Scotia. In 2017, the company selected Canso as the optimal site and it plans to lease 15 hectares of land outside the town from the provincial Department of Natural Resources. Once developed, the objective is to launch eight rockets annually by 2022.
The stumbling block to these plans is government approval and passing an environmental impact test. Maritime Launch Services filed an environmental assessment study with the province on July 4. The dossier ran to 362 pages and it presents a review of environmental risks and consequences of the project, assessing air, water and soil, plus the impact on wildlife, embracing everything from butterflies to moose.
However, Margaret Miller requires more details about the environmental impact as has given Maritime Launch Services a further year to prepare a more detailed analysis. In response, Stephen Matier, the president and chief executive officer, told CBC News that he was "disappointed"; however: "We will do it as quickly as we can, and as correctly as we can, we don't want to see this thing drag out...We certainly want to see this project through to success, we're certainly committed to making it work."
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