The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories said Monday that they "accept" or "accept the intent" of 88 of the 115 recommendations from the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP) Joint Review Panel (JRP) that are within the respective government's jurisdictions.

In their final response to the JRP report Foundation for a Sustainable Northern Future the governments outline how they will "ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are in place to respond to environmental, social, cultural and economic issues" related to the project. "Should the MGP proceed it will do so within a responsible environmental stewardship framework," said Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird.

Overall, the governments accept or have accepted the intent of "a vast majority" of the recommendations directed toward them. In most cases where a recommendation is not accepted, it is because it is determined to be outside the scope of the JRP's mandate, the governments said. Both governments are of the view that the response is in keeping with the overall objectives of the JRP's recommendations and have concluded that its implementation would eliminate or mitigate any potential adverse impacts associated with MGP, they said.

"Several recommendations [of the JRP document] constrain future development in the North and, therefore, cannot be accepted as written by the Joint Review Panel," the governments said. "For example, in a few instances, the Joint Review Panel recommends that no regulatory agency issue any authorization or approval for a facility that would enable the throughput of the [MGP] pipeline to be increased above 1.2 Bcf/d until governments fulfill a specific commitment. Governments consider this to be an inappropriate constraint on development over which a proponent has no control. Should there be a requirement to bring new natural gas fields online or expand related infrastructure, governments are committed to ensuring the appropriate legislative and regulatory requirements are met."

MGP advanced last month when the JRP circulated a 16-page document reciting a condensed version of its case for parlaying its share in the regulatory review into a blueprint for northern governance on fronts from polar bear habitat preservation to federal-territorial-aboriginal resource revenue-sharing and alcohol and drug abuse clinics (see Daily GPI, Oct. 18).

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