National Energy Board announces next steps in Mackenzie Gas Project hearing

CALGARY, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - The National Energy Board (NEB) released its plan today for concluding its hearing on the $16-billion Mackenzie Gas Project.

The NEB plans to hear final argument in April 2010 on the applications to build the 1,220-kilometre natural gas pipeline and related facilities through Canada's north. This date is dependent upon the release of the Joint Review Panel report, expected in December 2009. The Joint Review Panel is examining the potential environmental, socio-economic and cultural effects of the project. The National Energy Board is looking at all other issues, including engineering, safety and economic matters and will consider the Joint Review Panel's recommendation and its proposed remedial measures that relate to the NEB's mandate.

Remedial measures are actions intended to alleviate potentially adverse effects of a new development. Some of these remedial measures could be incorporated into any approvals the NEB may grant for the Mackenzie Gas Project as conditions.

The NEB has established a schedule and process to consider comments on the remedial measures that are within the NEB's mandate. This process, referred to as a consult to modify process, is consistent with the Cooperation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories. The proposed steps in the NEB's consult to modify process and the anticipated next steps in the NEB's hearing are available on the NEB website.

"The Mackenzie Gas Project is one of the largest infrastructure projects to ever be proposed in this country," said NEB Panel Chair Ken Vollman.

"It has been a long road to get to this point and we are very pleased to be approaching the final stages of our journey," he said.

Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited and its partners, the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, Imperial Oil Resources Limited, ConocoPhillips (North) Limited, Shell Canada Limited and ExxonMobil Canada Properties, filed five applications in 2004. The NEB held the scheduled evidentiary portion of its hearing in 2006.

Once final argument is complete, the NEB will prepare its Reasons for Decision, the document which will announce the decision and provide the Panel's reasoning.

Celebrating 50 years of regulatory leadership, the NEB is an independent federal agency that regulates several parts of Canada's energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest, within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.

This news release is also available on the Board's Internet site under What's New!

SOURCE National Energy Board

For further information: For further information: Sarah Kiley (sarah.kiley@neb-one.gc.ca), Communications Officer, Telephone: (403) 299-3633, TTY (teletype): 1-800-632-1663


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