After approximately four years, the Mackenzie Gas Project’s review is finally coming to an end this month. The National Energy Board will hear final argument from April 12th to 24th in Yellowknife and Inuvik, NWT. The NEB is then expected to make a decision this fall on whether or not to grant approval to the project.
Nature Canada will not appear at the hearings, but we will be following them closely. In addition to the many specific concerns we have about the proposed project, we are concerned by the National Energy Board’s reaction to the recommendations made by the Joint Review Panel in its December 2009 report. The Panel made 176 recommendations and concluded that the project could be carried out without a negative impact to the region if all the recommendations were fully impelmented. The NEB comments on the Panel’s report addressed only about half of the recommendations, arguing that the rest were not within the Board’s jurisdiction, instead of committing to ensure that all of the panel’s recommendations are implemented as a package.
In response to the NEB, the Joint Review Panel last week reaffirmed its conclusion the project can only be carried without a negative impact if all the recommendations are fully implemented. The stakes are very high for sustainability, as a new Pembina Institute fact sheet makes clear.
Perhaps the NEB will be convinced at the final hearing to adopt the Panel’s approach to sustainability for the Mackenzie Gas Project, if it approves the project. The NEB hearing will be broadcast live on the NEB’s website in Inuvialuktun, Gwich’in, North Slavey, South Slavey, Dene Tha’, English and French. Listen in or stay tuned for an update.