Mackenzie, Beaufort Pipe Projects to Draft Plan

The Mackenzie Valley and Beaufort offshore pipeline proposals got a slight push forward last week following two days of meetings with all of those responsible for regulating energy developments in the Northwest Territories. The agreement, coordinated by the National Energy Board, would set up a draft framework for a single environmental assessment process to review the proposals.

Under the agreement, the draft also is expected to consider integrating the many regulatory requirements applicable to the project, and "will support and respect the spirit and intent of land claims agreements," said the NEB in a statement. The NEB added that all of those involved are optimistic that the draft will be completed by the end of the summer. Once completed, the proposal would go through a comment period before it could be ratified. No ratification is expected before the end of the year.

In a meeting last week with the committee, Robert Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, offered his "strong support for the important work" of the northern resource management boards. The boards noted that they were encouraged by the commitment of federal resources to address what they called "pressing capacity issues."

Since last November, several meetings have been held by the various governmental and industry entities to coordinate a review process for northern gas development. The parties have met several times to explore their willingness and ability to cooperate and coordinate the review process for northern gas development.

Among those involved in drafting a framework are the NEB, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, the Environmental Impact Screening Committee and the Environmental Impact Review Board for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. Also working on the draft are the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, the NWT Water Board, the Inuvialuit Land Administration, the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Sahtu Land and Water Board and the Northwest Territories' government.

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