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Mackenzie Valley Pipeline review panel gets conservation measures right: CPAWS

  • Published on Jan 06 2010 |
  • This article is tagged as: boreal-forest

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is pleased with the detailed conservation recommendations made by the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP) in their recently released report,  Foundation for a Sustainable Northern Future.

“The JRP made important recommendations to protect wildlife and habitat before the proposed project proceeds. These include approving regional land use plans, setting aside a network of protected areas, funding the cumulative impacts monitoring program (CIMP), and completing recovery strategies and action plans for species under the Species at Risk Act,” says Kris Brekke, interim executive director of CPAWS’ Northwest Territories chapter.

“CPAWS NWT intervened in the hearings to ensure that the NWT’s culturally important and ecologically significant areas didn’t get left in the dark should the project get the green light,” says Brekke.

There are still questions about whether and how the project will proceed given that the demand for natural gas and the surrounding economic conditions for the 1,200 km-long proposed pipeline and three anchor fields have changed considerably since the project application was first submitted in 2003.

“Despite a level of uncertainty surrounding the proposed MGP, the National Energy Board (NEB) and the federal and territorial governments need to accept and start implementing the JRP Report recommendations,” says Brekke.

Brekke adds, “We’re pleased that the recommendations of the 1977 Berger Pipeline Inquiry that the NWT’s land and waters need protection measures in place before large-scale industrial development proceeds are reflected in the JRP report. The JRP’s recommendations re-emphasize the NWT’s opportunity and responsibility to conserve our natural and cultural values while they are still largely intact. There’s no reason to wait to implement them.”

CPAWS NWT has been working with Aboriginal organizations, the territorial and federal governments, other environmental organizations and industry to protect a network of culturally significant and ecologically important protected areas through the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy (NWT-PAS). Specifically, CPAWS NWT has assisted in implementing the NWT-PAS Mackenzie Valley Five -Year Action Plan (2005-2010).

This past year, a number of conservation successes have been achieved, such as the permanent protection of Saoyú - ?