Meeting Summary - 19 January 2011

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Wednesday
19 January 2011
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Regional Corporation Boardroom
Inuvik, NT

Purpose: Arctic Offshore Drilling Review workshop meeting with the Inuvik Hunters & Trappers Committee and the Community Corporation Members

Participants
Participants
Hank Rogers Sr.
Edgar Maring
Frank Pokiak
Christine Inglangasuk
Jimmy Kalinek
Ethel-Jean Gruben
Shelly Hendrick
Douglas Esagok
Ray Tingmiak
Steve Baryluk
Shawna Kaglik
Johnnie Lennie
 
Gaétan Caron Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NEB
David Hamilton Member, 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 mandate of the NEB, the events leading up to the Review and the various phases of the Review.
  • The HTC and CC members were asked what can you tell us about your community, land and environment that offshore drilling may affect?

Dialogue with HTC and CC members:

In response to the question put forward, a number of areas of interest and concern were raised by HTC and CC members, including:

  1. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • Responders in the Gulf tried to protect certain areas but they couldn't do that - the same might happen in the Beaufort
    • Resources available in the north for responding are limited
    • Resources for responding are not as accessible in the north as what was available in the Gulf
    • At a meeting in Tuktoyaktuk in October a panel of government agencies was asked who would be the first to respond if there was a spill and no one could answer the question
    • Local people should be trained so they can be the first responders
    • There needs to be information on how to report a spill
    • Beyond reporting a spill, what are the penalties?
    • There needs to be follow-up once a spill has been reported. In the past, haven't seen anything following a report
    • How will it be decided if dispersants can be used?

  2. General:

    • There needs to be a balance but also there is a need to move forward
    • After the incident in the Gulf, everything was shut down
    • After the Gulf direction was given to the IRC to put a moratorium on activities until things were sorted out
    • In order to answer the question today, will need more time and will have to bring the matter back to the respective boards to prepare
    • Knew 10/20 years ago how offshore drilling would affect the people
    • The incident in the Gulf has a positive side as everyone is now on their toes
    • The NEB should ask industry about the chemicals that will be used to sink oil - this could contaminate the water and even if you can't see it, it is still there
    • It is blind faith jumping into the future that NEB and industry are doing their jobs - the people of the north will be here with or without the NEB
    • Politics can't get in the way. People are educated and are speaking out. This doesn't mean they are troublemakers, they are just trying to protect the land, lifestyle and livelihood for their children and grandchildren
    • Want to see long term business ventures and the economy moving along but things have to be safe
    • Haven't seen training opportunities and it seems opportunities are flowing south and those being impacted for the life of the activity and afterwards aren't benefiting from the opportunities
    • Just need to be frank
    • Follow-up is key - need to keep in touch
    • Elders have knowledge to bring to the table and this should be done ahead of time
    • GXT takes a more personal approach and keeps in touch and keeps people up-to-date on how the project is going
    • If papers are going to be signed to let this happen, answers are needed for their children and grandchildren
    • The only way to get under the skin of industry is through money
    • NEB is being proactive in listening
    • Whose jurisdiction does oil sumps fall under?
    • Excuses were made why animals have died but it never happened before the Gulf
    • Any concerns of the HTC can be brought up through the Inuvialuit Game Council at any time, concerns from the CC can be brought up through the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
    • There should be an aboriginal member from the north on the National Energy Board
    • Website at the NEB is difficult to navigate
    • Want to see the best for their children and grandchildren - don't want today's children committing suicide and leaving their children without parents
    • When people quit talking doesn't mean they are against development but are just tired of banging their heads against the wall
    • Happy that voices are being heard, never been heard like this before
    • Feel confident things will get done, voices and opinions are being heard
    • Berger had the right idea to wait until people were in a better place to deal with matters
    • There is a generation gap
    • This is being done for their children and grandchildren
    • Working with the HTC/CC is a step in the right direction
    • Trust is a big thing and good communication is key
    • A spill wouldn't affect just the north but all of Canada

  3. Inspections and Monitors:

    • Contractors can get away with a lot in the NWT - they get advance warning of inspections and clean up before the inspectors get there
    • Communities should be made aware that inspections are being done and have a report back to them of the results - this would be helpful
    • Things should be clean all the time and not just when inspectors are around and industry shouldn't be able to influence what does and doesn't go in a report
    • Not sure where matters that are reported go to - wildlife and environmental monitors should have the power to shut activity down or give out fines
    • Intimidation is a big factor for wildlife and environmental monitors - they are always concerned about losing their job and being shipped out

  4. Past Experiences:

    • Have come a long way from the ‘80s when things happened and were just swept under the rug
    • In the past cuttings were being dumped into the ocean 200 miles from Tuktoyaktuk - at first they would be laid out on the ice and then when the ice would melt, they would sink to the bottom
      • This can end up in the fish and there is still that chance as everything is in the food chain (small fish up to the beluga)
      • Industry can come up with the money to drill, they should take care of this properly so people don't have to be worrying about it 30 years later
    • In the past, prior to reaching a certain threshold, an ice pad was to be built and this didn't happen
    • Wanted to send people 20 years ago to see the impacts in Alaska but this didn't happen and there are still impacts 20 years later on the people, communities and the land
    • Wanted to go and see how industry works but this didn't happen and unsure as to why
      • Was not going to make trouble and not always looking at the negative side but want to know how things work
    • Still feeling impacts from the activities in the ‘80s - some of those who worked in the oil and gas industry back then are now walking the streets
    • Traditional knowledge has been given for the past 30 years and people don't know where it goes
    • When a ship had to offload grey water to lighten its load because of a sandbar, the environmental monitor did not report this and risk being let go - there were whispers but nothing happened - people need to be able to bring up issues
    • In the past, workers were told to dump garbage and now can't tell where the garbage is - need to be better this time round
    • In other meetings, questions were never answered - this meeting is better because of the interaction

  5. Value of Resources:

    • Anything that happens in the open sea will affect people in the north as they are subsistence hunters
    • Already struggling to protect the caribou
    • Even without a spill people are already impacted by industry (cancer), even the youth because of the pollutants from the first go round of oil and gas - pollutants are on the land and the animals and berries people eat are making them sick
    • Snow geese are a big staple for the people - what the affect is on them from what happened in the Gulf won't be known for a few more months when they migrate back north - people are concerned that there may not be any geese to harvest
    • Even the nagging doubt that food may be contaminated is an impact
    • At least one third of diets are from the ocean

Concluding Remarks and Follow-up Matters:

  • NEB is to provide the internet link to the Deepwater Horizon report
  • NEB is available to assist HTC/CC members with the process to prepare for Phase 2 of the Review and be comfortable to come to the table - NEB will follow-up in organizing how best to assist members with the process
  • NEB will provide information on how a spill can be reported
  • NEB will advise whose jurisdiction oil sumps fall under
  • NEB to send a letter of how the Review will move forward
  • HTC/CC members will take the question back to their respective organizations and discuss how they will continue their participation in the Review
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