Only 10 Mackenzie pipeline Recommendations OKed

The Mackenzie Valley pipeline is being spearheaded by a corporate consortium led by Imperial Oil. If built, the 1,200-kilometre pipeline will run through the Northwest Territories to a hub in northwestern Alberta. (CBC)Ottawa and the Northwest Territories have fully accepted only 10 of the 115 recommendations made by an environmental panel about the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

The Joint Review Panel made a total of 176 recommendations to mitigate any harmful environmental and socio-economic effects of building and operating a 1,200-kilometre natural gas pipeline. Of those recommendations, 115 were aimed at the federal and N.W.T. governments.

When it released its findings in December, the panel said it would support the proposed pipeline — which would run from gas fields in the Beaufort Delta, through the Northwest Territories south to a hub in northern Alberta — only if all of its recommendations are implemented.

But in their interim response released Monday, the federal and N.W.T. governments said only 10 of the Joint Review Panel’s recommendations would be accepted as written. Twenty-eight would be rejected outright and 77 would be acceptable with changes, the governments said.

Constraints on development cited

The governments did not identify which recommendations were accepted, rejected or needed modification. But their response did point to general concerns:

Some recommendations might constrain development. Some recommendations would require long-term government funding commitments, which cannot be offered at this time. Some recommendations have timelines the governments cannot follow at this time.

The federal and N.W.T. governments did not respond to the Joint Review Panel’s 61 remaining recommendations, which were directed to the National Energy Board and the Alberta government.

The National Energy Board, a federal agency that regulates parts of Canada’s energy sector, is determining whether to approve the pipeline proposal. The board’s decision is expected in September.

Aboriginal groups to provide input

N.W.T. Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger said the details of the governments’ interim response have been sent to the territory’s aboriginal governments for their input.

“We’re in a situation where that information is going to take place between the aboriginal governments and ourselves and the federal government,” Miltenberger told CBC News on Monday.

“When that is all finished, then the information will be pulled back together. And then at some point, closer to the fall, there will be a final report that is done and presented.”

Once consultations with aboriginal governments are complete, the government response must be submitted to the Joint Review Panel for review. Then the final response will be submitted to the National Energy Board.

The federally appointed, independent Joint Review Panel was set up by the federal environment minister in 2004 as an advisory group and spent about five years studying the issue, including holding hearings.ref=rss#ixzz0oI2WvQUG

CBC News

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