Mackenzie pipeline review calls for responsible Northern development

Yellowknife – The Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Mackenzie Gas Project reiterated its position that all 176 of its recommendations are needed for the Mackenzie Gas Project to make a positive contribution to the North, should the National Energy Board (NEB) approve it.

The JRP issued its statement in response to the NEB’s proposed modifications to the recommendations report the Joint Review Panel released in December 2009. The NEB failed to address approximately two-thirds of the recommendations, including those directed at governments. The NEB said some of the recommendations, such as the completion and approval of regional land use plans, fall outside its jurisdiction or outside the scope of the Mackenzie applications.

The JRP report emphasized that its recommendations were designed as a package and are mutually supportive. Without the implementation of every recommendation, it said, the project’s impact on the environment would likely be significant and adverse.

The Pembina Institute today issued Defending the North, a fact sheet to help support the outcomes of the JRP review process that Northerners helped create.

“Even if they are not requested to do so by the National Energy Board, governments can choose to follow the recommendations made by the Joint Review Panel,” says Jennifer Grant, Director of the Pembina Institute’s Arctic Program. “The recommendations were carefully crafted in the best interest of Aboriginal groups and Northerners.”

According to the JRP, government preparedness was the underlying concern of many Aboriginal groups and Northerners who participated in the process. It says the recommendations were written to reflect the social, economic and environmental values of northern citizens.

The NEB will begin hearings into the project on April 12 and is expected to give its final decision on whether the project should go ahead in September. The opportunity still exists for the NEB to incorporate these recommendations as a road map for a project that will bring benefits to Aboriginal groups and Northerners for the long term. In addition, federal and territorial governments can commit to implement recommendations over which they have jurisdiction.

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