Keltic Petrochemicals' proposed Goldboro petrochemical plant to be located at Nova Scotia's eastern shore could be foiled. Regulators are pondering the potential negative impact of the US$4 billion energy project on the roseate tern, a bird about the size of a robin. If federal environmental regulators rule in favour of the endangered bird, the project could be in doldrums. The company is carrying out aevry possible step to satisfy the regulators, including carrying out a study from May until August on the terns.
Keltic Petrochemicals' environmental assessments on the East Coast are now dragging into its 12th week. Approximately 15 km away from the plant site is Country Island, off the Nova Scotia coast. That's where some 25 nesting pairs of the bird make their way each May, staying until August to breed and raise their young. The Country Island terns form the second-largest colony of the birds nationwide; last year biologists confirmed only 99 breeding pairs in all of Canada. the concern is that their foraging grounds for fish immediately next to their nesting areas might be disturbed. Possible areas of concern in relation to the terns included bilge water issues, air quality, emissions and increased predation by gulls. The latter could occur if gulls followed ships past the island as they headed to the plant. A report also noted terns startle easily and increased marine traffic could cause the birds to fly up from their nests, leaving them vulnerable to predators.