Mackenzie Pipeline Gets Thumbs-Up
According to Nathan VanderKlippe, A decades-old northern dream has taken a major step forward after the panel tasked with reviewing the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline concluded that it should go forward.
The joint review panel, which has spent the past half-decade assessing the pipeline, has concluded that the $16.2-billion project “would deliver valuable and lasting overall benefits, and avoid significant adverse environmental impacts.”
While the 679-page report from the panel, released Wednesday afternoon, does not give formal approval to the project to go ahead – that power lies with the National Energy Board – its positive findings mark a big advance.
Read the panel’s executive summary
“It would appear that the JRP has recommended that the project should be allowed to proceed subject to certain conditions. Which, from the proponent’s perspective, is obviously a very positive development,” said Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for the project’s lead backer, Imperial Oil Ltd.
The report includes 176 recommendations aimed at diminishing the pipeline’s impact on the people and environments it would affect. It concludes that the pipeline will “provide the foundation for a sustainable northern future” – one that would be better with this major project than without it. Its recommendations touch on the pipeline’s design, as well as on the need for government funding to help protect environmentally sensitive areas and species in the North.
Notably, it recommends a suite of guidelines that would temper the pace of Arctic development, in an effort to avoid “cumulative effects” from multiple projects. It finds that the pipeline would not adversely affect fish, but says that broad regional plans must be created to limit cumulative industrial activity that could hurt animals such as polar bears, caribou and beluga whales. It recommends a new protected area in the Mackenzie Delta, the heart of the Northwest Territories’ gas reserves, to protect wildlife and ecosystems. (Source: Globe and Mail)