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NNSL Photo/graphic

Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister Brendan Bell, left, and deputy minister Peter Vician were in the hot seat during this week's National Energy Board hearings. The government was asked by various organizations about its interests and requirements in the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

Territorial government sets pipeline conditions

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Dec 15/06) - Minister Brendan Bell was on the front lines for the territorial government this week, saying that the GNWT could not approve a Mackenzie Valley pipeline until the government's requirements are met.

During the National Energy Board hearings, Bell, who oversees the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, said he has three focuses:

  • That the project be sustainable environmentally and economically.
  • That the proponents demonstrate how the Northwest Territories would benefit from the pipeline.
  • To maximize the development of oil and natural gas in the Territories.

"We cannot endorse the project until the final arguments are heard and hearings are done," said Bell.

He and deputy minister Peter Vician were on the hot seat for questioning by intervenors.

Paramount Resources representative Alan Hollingworth asked what the government's position is on the proposal for providing gas to communities along the Mackenzie valley.

Bell told him that the government had discussions with the proponents to change the proposal.

"We want to include non-residential and commercial users as well," said Bell.

The original plan only covered the subsidizing of residential gas users.

"As a government, we support access to the gas for communities up and down the valley," said Bell. Hollingworth also wanted a different toll for short-distance shippers, say from Fort Good Hope to Tulita.

Bell said that no decision had been made by the government about the tolls and distances at this time.

The National Energy Board hearings will wrap up tomorrow.

The information and evidence received will be joined with the results of the Joint Review Panel once those hearings have completed.