Meeting Summary - 9 February 2011

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Wednesday
9 February 2011
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board boardroom
Whitehorse, YK

Purpose: Arctic Offshore Drilling Review meeting with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board

Participants
Participants
Stephen Mills
Ken McKinnon
Mike Maller
 
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, NEB

Introductory Remarks (NEB and YESAB):

  • An overview of the mandate of YESAB was provided
  • 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 YESAB were asked what is on their minds when it comes to offshore drilling in the Arctic?

Dialogue with YESAB:

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

  1. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • Is it technically possible to drill a well and relief well in the same season?
    • Must be hearing about blow out preventers and that not being the only protection
    • Even with redundancy after redundancy there are still failures
    • The big questions are how to get at the oil, what to do with it and what it will do

  2. General:

    • With respect to benefits agreements (on and offshore), what is INAC's role - if caribou in NWT are impacted, Yukon resources (porcupine caribou) will be used and therefore the Yukon (Vuntut Gwich'in) impacted
    • North Slope/Yukon is complicated - key users are coming from the NWT and using Yukon resources (terrestrial and aquatic) - while everything is connected and linked, these are two different jurisdictions with different regimes
    • NEB should talk to the Aklavik Hunters & Trappers Committee as well as look at the photos the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Inuvialuit Game Council have - will get a sense of community being created (processing a whale)
    • Northeast of Ivvavik - reverse onus clause (must demonstrate why a project can't be moved anywhere else)
    • It is complicated on how definitions work and where Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act (YESAA) fits in
    • Where would YESAB get involved in offshore drilling?
    • When will the review be finalized?
    • There is information available on the Arctic Net
    • If an oil spill ended up in the Yukon, who would take care of it?
    • What has the Yukon government said?
    • How does the Yukon get involved - directly now or through particular projects?
    • NEB should talk to the people of Old Crow - the Heritage Department has a great database (traditional use - Babic (sp?), Herschel, etc.)
    • Families are tight between Canada and Alaska

  3. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • Could refer to the Canadian Ice Service - shows how the Beaufort gyre works
    • Does Greenland have the same challenges as in the Beaufort?

  4. Value of Resources:

    • Beluga Management Zones are important and should be considered
    • Is there potential for anything on Yukon land (facilities/infrastructure to support offshore) - national parks have strict land use restrictions
    • How are the food chains working - maybe want the oil to go to the seafloor or maybe not - one big challenge is lack of ecological function information
    • Great terrestrial information available re: Herschel Island
    • Most tour operators for Herschel Island are based out of Whitehorse

Concluding Remarks and Follow-up Matters:

  • NEB staff are available to assist YESAB with the process for the Review
  • YESAB is interested in following the Review
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