June 14, 2004

Mackenzie gas project draft review accord, EIS draft terms released for comment

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Mackenzie Valley Impact Environmental Impact Review Board and the Inuvialuit Game Council have released for public comment the draft agreement for an environmental impact review of the Mackenzie gas project, along with the draft terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project. The comment period runs to July 15, 2004.

The draft agreement outlines how the environmental assessment processes for the project might be harmonized by establishing a joint review panel process which would meets the requirements of both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. The panel's mandate, formation, review scope and factors to be considered are outlined as well. The agreement also ensures that the joint review will address certain unique measures related to wildlife impact assessment as contained in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement.

The draft terms of reference contain guidelines for the preparation of an EIS for the project. They outline the nature and scope of the issues that the proponent must address when preparing its EIS. The EIS will serve as a basis for the review and evaluation of the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of the project.

The federal government is providing $113,515 in Phase 1 participant funding to 16 applicants to help them reviewing the draft terms of reference for the EIS. Up to $1.38 million will be made available for Phases 2 and 3 of the federal funding program. Details on funding for Phases 2 and 3 will be announced at a later date.

The draft documents, along with a list of funding recipients, may be found on the Web sites of the Northern Gas Project Secretariat (NGPS) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, www.ngps.nt.ca, www.ceaa.gc.ca.

Comments may be sent by FAX or E-mail to the NGPS Office at info@ngps.nt.ca, 867/766-8624, or by FAX to the Agency, 613/957-0941.

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