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Regulatory Process

The regulatory process for the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project involves many permits and approvals and will require cooperation among several regulatory agencies. These agencies will decide whether to issue permits and authorizations, and might impose conditions on their approval. The project participants will then assess whether to proceed with the project.

The Mackenzie Gas Project requires approvals from federal, territorial, provincial and settlement area regulatory authorities responsible for assessing and regulating energy developments. In October 2004, the project proponents filed applications for the Mackenzie gathering system and Mackenzie Valley pipeline, and three development plan applications for the anchor fields.

Click here to view the contents of the application submissions

The regulatory process is complex and regulatory authorities are working to develop procedures to coordinate it. The coordination efforts could affect the project schedule.

The Environmental and Regulatory Review Process

The following shows the four main steps of the regulatory process for the Mackenzie Gas Project.

Step One: Preparation
(Completed)

Step Two: Preliminary Information Package (PIP) and Trigger Applications
(Completed)

Step Three: A Joint Review Panel Hearing and Coordinated Regulatory Panel Hearings
(Completed)

Step Four: Completion of the Regulatory Process

2001-2003

2003

2004-2010

Regulatory agencies develop a common understanding and approach to evaluate proposals to build a pipeline. The regulatory Cooperation Plan is developed.

Regulatory agencies* review the PIP and trigger applications.

All agencies evaluate the proposed project and determine a potential exists for environmental impact or public concern. As a result, the project is referred to the Joint Review Panel for an environmental impact assessment.

Major regulatory applications for most parts of the project are submitted by the proponents in October 2004.

Public hearings are held to listen to the views of the public about the possible impacts of the project.

The public has an opportunity to voice any concerns and to influence the project.

If regulatory approvals are given for the pipeline project, licences and permits will be issued that outline the conditions to be met.

Project proponents will make a decision whether to proceed with construction.

NOTE: *The National Energy Board, the Environmental Impact Screening Committee of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Preparation (Step One)

Mackenzie Gas Project requires approvals from federal, territorial, provincial and settlement area regulatory authorities responsible for assessing and regulating energy developments.

To make the regulatory process clearer, the agencies involved agreed to collaborate to make the environmental assessment and regulatory processes for the project more efficient and effective. This resulted in the regulatory Cooperation Plan being developed, to:

  • satisfy the needs of all northern agencies


  • honour land claim agreements


  • satisfy the regulations of all federal and territorial legislation

The procedures in the plan are intended to coordinate the regulatory process, while recognizing the independence of each regulatory authority. The plan describes how the applications will be considered by the regulators during public hearings.

Click here to view the Cooperation Plan for the Environmental Impact Assessment and Regulatory Review of a Northern Gas Pipeline Project through the Northwest Territories (1037 KB PDF)

A copy of the Cooperation Plan can be obtained from the Northern Gas Project Secretariat and the National Energy Board.

Preliminary Information Package and Trigger Applications (Step Two)

The Mackenzie Gas Project submitted the Preliminary Information Package (PIP) to regulatory agencies in June 2003. The PIP outlines plans for all aspects of the project, including communication and consultation with communities. It also includes information about how a pipeline might affect the environment and the socio-economic conditions of the North.

The Mackenzie Gas Project also filed a land-use permit and water licence application with the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board to trigger the regulatory process in the Mackenzie Valley.

By April 2004, all regulators had completed a review of the PIP and the trigger applications. The following regulatory authorities were involved:

  • federal agencies, such as the National Energy Board, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and Environment Canada

  • the Environmental Impact Screening Committee of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, which assessed the PIP to decide if the proposed project might have an impact on the people and environment in the region.

  • the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, which conducted a preliminary screening of the PIP and trigger applications.

The regulators' review of these documents resulted in the project being referred to the Joint Review Panel for a thorough environmental impact assessment.

Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Review (Step Three)

In October 2004, the Mackenzie Gas Project filed the Environmental Impact Statement of the project for review by the Joint Review Panel. The project proponents also filed the major regulatory applications for all parts of the project with the National Energy Board. Filing these applications initiated the formal environmental assessment and regulatory review of the project.

Click here to view the contents of the application submissions

The Joint Review Panel process will ensure the project receives a thorough environmental impact assessment. The Joint Review Panel consists of seven members selected by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB), the Inuvialuit Game Council and the federal Minister of the Environment.

The environmental impact assessment will consider the potential affect of the project on the environment and on the social, cultural and economic well-being of the residents and communities potentially affected.

A parallel regulatory review of the project relating to licensing and permitting is also required. The regulatory review will involve hearings conducted by the National Energy Board, the NWT Water Board, and the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board.

Final hearing arguments had been announced for April 2010. The National Energy Board had outlined its process and plan for the remaining months.

The environmental impact assessment and regulatory review, although separate, will be coordinated.

On December 16, 2010 The National Energy Board issued a new release informing of the Reasons for Decision GH-1-2004 with respect to the Mackenzie Gas Project.

Click here to view the contents of the Reasons for Decision GH-1-2004

In addition to the main applications, more than 4,000 licences, permits and agreements will be required during the planning, construction and start-up phases of the project. Categories include:

  • benefits and access agreements
  • wildlife compensation agreements
  • land use permits
  • surface tenure agreements
  • water use licences
  • quarry permits
  • bird sanctuary access permits
  • authorizations under the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Act

Completion of the Regulatory Process (Step Four)

If regulatory approvals are given, licences and permits will be required, outlining the conditions to be met. A decision by the project proponents will be made whether to proceed with project construction. The decision will consider:

  • the terms and conditions of regulatory approvals, if granted
  • the results of engineering, commercial and public consultation activities
  • other factors, such as natural gas markets, fiscal terms and the cost of construction and operation

Public Involvement

Many opportunities exist for the public to be involved at every step of the regulatory process. To learn more about how to participate, please contact your regional Mackenzie Gas Project representative.

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