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Delegates to gather for offshore drilling roundtable
Roundtable meeting on offshore drilling in the Canadian Arctic taking place next week in Inuvik

Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, September 3, 2011

The National Energy Board will be hosting a roundtable meeting in Inuvik next week to discuss the future of offshore drilling in the Canadian Arctic.

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Mayor Denny Rodgers said the meeting, and what comes out of it, will have a big effect on the town of Inuvik. - NNSL file photo

More than 150 delegates from industry, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations groups are set to gather for the roundtable meeting, which is scheduled to run from Sept. 12 to 16 at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex.

"It's just going to be an interesting opportunity to get a whack of stakeholders together and talk about things," said Stacey Squires, a communications officer with the National Energy Board in Calgary.

Since September of last year, the board has been gathering information on offshore drilling and is currently in the process of reviewing its safety and environmental requirements.

Squires said the layout of the meetings, which will run from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will allow for participants to hear from experts, ask questions, provide input and discuss requirements for drilling.

"All of this information is being examined and it's an opportunity to talk about what's been learned and perhaps express if there's a perceived gap in the information that's been collected," she said.

The roundtable will unofficially begin Sept. 10 with a welcome event from 5 to 8 p.m., which is set to include dinner and a cultural performance.

Monday, Sept. 12, will include introductions by participants and an overview of the week's schedule.

Between Sept. 13 and Sept. 16 there will be discussions on what information an offshore drilling application should include, what makes drilling in the Arctic different, what drilling requirements are worldwide, how the risks of drilling can be lowered and what would happen in the event of a spill.

Mayor Denny Rodgers said the meeting, and what comes out of it, will have a big effect on the town of Inuvik.

"The big question on everyone's mind is what's going to happen with the offshore drilling policy and how that's going to roll out," he said.

Residents of Inuvik who want to attend the roundtable should have applied by July 29, but for those who can't attend, the entire week's events will be broadcast live on the board's website and translated into Inuinnaqtun, Gwich'in, Inuvialuktun, Inuktitut and French.

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