ARCHIVED – Meeting Summary – 6 December 2010

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Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
6 December 2010
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Boardroom
Inuvik, NT

Purpose: Introduce the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review to the Northwest Territories Wildlife Management Advisory Council (NT)

Frank Pokiak
Joseph Haluksit
Rob Gau
Lawrence Ruben
Donald Inuktalik
Larry Carpenter
Joel Ingram
Gaétan Caron Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NEB
David Hamilton Member, NEB
Shirley Dawe Assistant Project Manager, Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, NEB
Brian Chambers Northern Advisor, NEB
Bharat Dixit Technical Leader, Conservation of Resources, NEB
Pamela Romanchuk Environmental Specialist, NEB
Susan Gudgeon Northern Coordinator, Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, NEB

Introductory Remarks (NEB):

  • An overview of the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review was provided, including the events leading up to the Review, the mandate of the NEB and the various phases of the Review.
  • The WMAC (NWT) was asked "what questions do you need answers to prior to the NEB considering an application for offshore drilling?"

Dialogue with WMAC (NWT) members:

In response to the question put forward, a number of areas of interest and concern were raised by WMAC (NWT) members, including:

  1. Clarity of Mandate and Authority of the NEB with respect to offshore drilling:

    • What the legal standing of NEB decisions is and, in particular, whether a decision of the NEB can be overturned by government
    • What factors are considered by the NEB (safety and protection of the environment)
    • What factors are considered through other processes, including environmental assessment processes (IFA/CEAA)

  2. Community Meetings:

    • Use of visuals would be helpful
    • Lead time (about 2 months) will be required prior to going into individual communities
    • Set out clearly, and in a plain language format, what is already in place (legislation and regulations) for environmental protection and safety
    • Presentations and questions being put to communities need to be well understood – they should be presented to the HTCs and Community Corporations in advance
    • Need to be clear upfront the NEB is going to the communities to gather input and will not have answers to all the questions that will likely be raised
    • Community members may identify research that is needed – how the research is funded needs further consideration given BREA activities'
    • Aim to increase overall understanding of NEB

  3. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • There is concern for the state of preparedness to protect the coast
    • Impact of the currents and tides and where a spill would travel are of concern and need to be understood
    • There needs to be clarity as to who is responsible for the cost of cleanup
    • Resources and infrastructure need to be available and accessible to respond to an incident – equipment should be kept on the ships to respond and not rely on having equipment in communities
    • Requirements for a same season relief well – this will be something of particular interest to community members
    • Who are the first responders?

  4. Environmental Protection and Enforcement:

    • What are the NEB's enforcement powers (financial penalties and shutting down of operations)
    • As time goes on, assuming offshore drilling is approved, there is a need to make sure equipment and systems are being maintained

  5. Financial Responsibility:

    • What the requirements are and the legal authority to require evidence of financial responsibility needs to be understood and clear

  6. General:

    • In light of the events in the Gulf of Mexico, there is concern about offshore drilling in the Arctic
    • Given the ongoing impacts of the spill in Alaska, people are disturbed by what is still there
    • Recognition that people need energy but not at any cost – need to find the right balance
    • Meaning of an "incident" needs clarification
    • Need to keep on top of the status of the "unsinkable drill ship";

  7. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • The ice will create a larger challenge in respect of responding if things go wrong

  8. Value of Resources:

    • People rely on wildlife and everything would be affected by oil, including their source of food
    • A blowout would change the way of life of people in the North
    • People depend on the ocean as well as the land – cannot point to any singular species as they are all connected and important
    • The value of wildlife and habitat needs to be explicitly considered in quantitative terms

Concluding Remarks:

  • Le CCGF (T.N.-O.) soumettra ses questions par écrit, dans une lettre à l'ONÉ
  • Les membres du CCGF (T.N.-O.) ont offert leur aide et leur soutien à l'ONÉ, pour la planification de l'engagement communautaire dans la RDI.
  • L'ONÉ ne soutient pas le forage en mer, pas plus qu'il ne s'y oppose : son travail est de veiller à la sécurité et à la protection de l'environnement.
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