Greening the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline: Is the National Energy Board serious about sustainability?

YELLOWKNIFE — The National Energy Board has an opportunity to get serious about sustainability of ecosystems and communities in the Mackenzie Valley as it considers a possible licence for the Mackenzie Gas Project in hearings this week, says Sierra Club Prairie.

“We are disappointed that sustainability considerations are absent in the NEB’s proposed licence conditions for the Mackenzie Gas Project, despite that fact that the NEB’s chair has recently stated that sustainability is a focus for the Board.” said Sheila Muxlow, acting director of Sierra Club Prairie. “The NEB cannot be said to be serious about advancing sustainability or the public interest if it turns a blind eye to the fact that the Mackenzie Gas Project is a basin-opening project that will create a petro-economy throughout much of the Mackenzie Valley.”

“The NEB has proposed narrow, business-as-usual licence conditions, when it should be pushing hard to ensure that Mackenzie natural gas is used as a transition fuel to achieve the sustainable energy future that the chair of the NEB says the Board wants,” says Stephen Hazell, advisor to Sierra Club Prairie. “We are looking forward to the hearings this week and to making the case that it is in Canada’s public interest that the Mackenzie Gas Project be regulated as a green pipeline that benefits northern communities as well as the oil companies.”

“As the primary regulator of the Mackenzie Gas Project, the NEB needs to understand how all the pieces of this sustainability puzzle fit together before it can make a determination as to whether the MGP is in the public interest” says Keith Ferguson, Ecojustice lawyer. “Well over half the JRP recommendations--such as those intended to control the pace and scale of upstream development, and ensure sustainability in relation to end-use—are not reflected in the NEB’s proposed conditions. The NEB needs to address these recommendations in the final licence conditions if the overall public interest is to be advanced.”

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