For Immediate Release
Kendall Island Sanctuary, Other Critical Bird
Ottawa (Jan. 17, 2006)– The proposed $7-billion dollar Mackenzie Gas Project, which will fragment habitat for bears, caribou and wolves, destroy forests and wetlands, and trigger a rush of oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Valley, should not proceed, Nature Canada announced today ahead of public hearings into the project, set to begin Jan. 25.
“The environmental assessment has been inadequate in measuring the full impact of the project on the lands, water and wildlife of this unique environment,” said Julie Gelfand, President of Nature Canada. “Important bird habitat like the Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary would be permanently damaged by such massive industrialization.”
Kendall Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary (MBS), located in the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories, is an important breeding and staging ground for a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds. Over 60,000 shorebirds such as Red-necked Phalaropes, Whimbrels, and Lesser Golden Plovers nest in the outer delta of the Mackenzie River, which includes Kendall Island.
Two confirmed natural gas fields lie under the Kendall Island MBS, and the Mackenzie Gas Project would bring this natural gas to southern developments and markets. Several companies hold licences for exploration of these gas fields, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is accepting bids on leases for several more inside the sanctuary.
“Welcoming this level of industrialization in a protected area like Kendall Island risks creating an unacceptable footprint,” said Sarah Wren, Nature Canada Conservation Biologist. “More needs to be done to strengthen – not weaken – Canada’s network of protected areas.”
“The Mackenzie Gas Pipeline project will accelerate development in places like Kendall Island, where habitat loss will have lasting effects on many of Canada’s birds species,” said Gelfand. “We urge Prime Minister Paul Martin to be as vocal about maintaining ecological integrity of protected areas right here in Canada as he has been in supporting the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.”
Nature Canada is one of several conservation organizations that plan to participate in the hearings of the National Energy Board and the Joint Review Panel.
“We want to make sure the Joint Review Panel is aware of the impact such massive industrialization will have on the region’s bird populations,” said Gelfand. “Instead of permanently scarring Canada’s wildest river, the government should be developing alternatives to oil and gas development that will build truly sustainable, healthy Mackenzie Valley communities.”
For further information, contact:
Julie Gelfand, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Wren, email@example.com
Chris Sutton, firstname.lastname@example.org