Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) said it will hear final arguments beginning April 12, on the Mackenzie Gas Project, a 760-mile pipeline and related facilities that would carry gas from northern Canada.

Nine days in April have been allotted for hearings at two locations, Yellowknife and Inuvik in Northwest Territories. During final arguments, each applicant or intervenor in the hearing process will have the chance to make its case for or against the project. Final argument must be based on evidence that has already been presented to the NEB.

Deliberation, a decision and explanation are to follow the hearings on the long-sought and frequently delayed project. “The Mackenzie Gas Project is one of the largest infrastructure projects to ever be proposed in this country,” NEB Panel Chair Ken Vollman said last fall when April was tentatively selected for the hearings (see Daily GPI, Oct. 9, 2009). “It has been a long road to get to this point and we are very pleased to be approaching the final stages of our journey.”

Prior to the hearings, NEB will gather comments from project applicants and individuals who participated in either the NEB or Joint Review Panel’s (JRP) hearing process, on the recommendations from the recent JRP report, which recommended approval of the project with conditions (see Daily GPI, Dec. 31, 2009). More information on the comment process is available on the NEB website.

“With the schedule that we have announced, our goal is to set out clear ‘rules of the game’ for the many people and organizations who are interested in the outcome of this hearing,” Vollman said.

The NEB began hearing evidence in January 2006 on five applications filed by Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Ltd., the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP, Imperial Oil Resources Ltd., ConocoPhillips Canada (North) Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd. and ExxonMobil Canada Properties.

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