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The Environmental Assessment of the Mackenzie Gas Project

Sierra Club of Canada is working to ensure a state-of-the-art public review of the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP) that rigorously examines environmental effects such as climate change, biodiversity, permafrost degradation, water and air quality, fragmentation of wilderness, and linkages to tar sands developments in northern Alberta. The huge scale of the project demands substantial funding for non-governmental organizations and local communities to enable them to participate effectively in the public review.

Various federal agencies as well as boards established under aboriginal comprehensive claims agreements have begun work on the environmental assessment. The MGP proponents (Imperial Oil, Shell, Conoco-Phillips) have begun preparing the environmental impact statement (EIS) even though governments have not yet approved its terms of reference.

You can help by writing to Environment Minister David Anderson, Natural Resources Minister John Efford and Northern Affairs Minister Andy Mitchell to ensure that the terms of reference are broad enough to ensure that the EIS is rigorous and addresses in detail all of our environmental concerns (see linked backgrounder on terms of reference)

The federal government is committed to holding a joint panel review for the MGP once the EIS is released. The joint panel is appointed by the federal government but will include members nominated by aboriginal organizations in the Mackenzie Valley and Delta. The MGP proponents expect the joint panel review to commence in 2004-05—an unrealistic timeframe given that there are as yet no approved terms of reference for the EIS and the members of the joint panel will not be appointed for months. The environmental assessment of this megaproject must be done right and that will take time!

Before the joint panel review can commence, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board must complete its assessment of the level of public concern about the project in the Mackenzie Valley.

The entire environmental assessment and regulatory review process for this project is described in the June 2002 Cooperation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories.
Details of the review process, including participant funding, timing and locations of hearings are available from the Northern Gas Project Secretariat at www.ngps.nt.ca or toll free 1-866-372-8600


Backgrounder: Threats to the Mackenzie Valley


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