Meeting Summary - 28 June 2011 - Sauniq Inns Hotel & Conference Centre, Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Information Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Tuesday
28 June 2011
7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
and
Wednesday
29 June 2011
10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
Sauniq Inns Hotel & Conference Centre
Pond Inlet, Nunavut

Purpose: Phase 2 Information Meeting

Participants
Participants
Bharat Dixit Technical Leader, Exploration and Production, NEB
Pamela Romanchuk Environmental Specialist, NEB
Susan Gudgeon Northern Coordinator, NEB
Christy Wickenheiser Environmental Specialist, NEB

Presentation (NEB):

National Energy Board staff gave a presentation providing an overview of:

  • the Board's role in the North
  • the scope of the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review
  • what has occurred to date including stakeholder meetings and information filed
  • where the Review is now at
  • what is coming up
  • funding

Questions and Comments:

The following questions and comments were posed:

  • Since the Gulf of Mexico incident are the old procedures and policies still being used for any company planning to drill in the Arctic?
  • Who is the Benefits Plan for?
  • What is in the regulations?
  • Is there anything in the regulations that deals specifically with the Arctic environment (cold, dark, ice, currents)?
  • Are there different regulations for the Beaufort Sea, Baffin Bay and Davis Strait? These areas are different. This area is completely different that around Tuktoyaktuk. They have wind but not the water current that is in our area. Are the regulations designed only for one area?
  • How many pages were the old regulations before the new regulations were added?
  • We never had concerns about regulations before but now we would like to see what is in them that will help and benefit us. These should be sent to the QIA, Hamlet office or directly to us. For my environment and the animals we need to see how they will help us.
  • Can we also get copies of policies and procedures?
  • Can you tell us about the depth where drilling can happen? Is there a difference in depth where companies can drill and cannot?
  • I would like to welcome you. I am glad you are in town. I have a lot to say.
  • If we ask companies not to drill will they keep doing it anyways?
  • We have summer, fall, etc but our seasons are shorter than in the South. Can the Board condition that drilling stop when the ice is moving around and when animals are in the area moving around?
  • As of this summer companies want to do testing (seismic).
  • Can you explain what same season relief well capabilities are?
  • Dispersants, is that the stuff they used in the Gulf of Mexico? Whose responsibility is it to do the research on dispersants?
  • For safety you mentioned the Gulf of Mexico. There is a big difference in our area. I have traveled though the area in February by snowmobile. The ice is breaking and there is some water and there is a lot of marine mammals and further up there are more polar bears.
  • If there was an oil spill similar to the Gulf of Mexico, it would be worse in our area.
  • Another reason is the water current is separating (Baffin Island/Resolute).
  • Would like to learn more to help each other about potential drilling. If they had a spill here where is the equipment? How long would it take ships to come up here? I would like to see a local resident to go to Inuvik and work with the Board.
  • I was picked by the federal government to go to the Beaufort Sea to inspect. There was an ice island. The ice was thick and I could walk on it. I remember driving a skidoo from Tuktoyaktuk in winter and they were still drilling. The ice was thick.
  • In Tuktoyaktuk if there is a spill it could be n one area.  In our area there is more current.
  • We go hunting. You have big baskets to go to the store. We go out hunting sometimes we get nothing. This is how we get our food.
  • There should be two types of records of the testing - one being photographs so we the local people can understand and see what is happening.
  • We never worked with these people before in the past. As of today we could work together.
  • I am from the High Arctic and you came a long distance from Calgary. I have been going on the local radio and telling people at the Hunters and Trappers Organization and Hamlet office. There is no higher of a position than you have. We are not involved as Inuit. Didn't involve us in the testing (seismic). They didn't have Inuit people involved. We are having less say. If I don't see people who should be involved I will be angry again. What can they do with testing? We don't know what they are doing with it. Would like to see very detail and not just on the internet or by email but face to face to let us know these things. We are happy you are here tonight.
  • We have seals, beluga, narwhals, fish - will they die because of the testing - will they float on top of the water?
  • I didn't get information of what they are using. Maybe the NEB can see the application and can tell and explain to us what they are using.
  • Don't think that we have no ice in the month of July. We always have ice no matter what time of year. Some areas may be slush. As of today we may see no ice. In winter ice is different than in August.
  • Has the NEB considered excluding some areas around Pond Inlet because of the narwhals?
  • Scientists have worked on studies for polar bears for many years. Because of skidoos and helicopters and barking of dogs, the polar bears can't hear the seals in the holes.
  • We rely on marine mammals. This is major and will have to be considered. If small animals and fish die, larger ones will die off. We rely on country food - too expensive to buy at the Northern.
  • A lot is going on in our area. What more do they want to do to have us go through more hardship?
  • Narwhals can stay under water injured for an hour and a bowhead for a half hour. How long will they stick around to see if animals are injured?
  • Don't be thinking that there is no representation. There is a representative from the Hunters and Trappers Organization here. As this is spring many are going out on the land. There are a number of hunters and trappers in town. I really want to welcome you to our town.
  • Those companies (mining and oil) we talk to them of our concerns. Instead of talking to them we should talk to you more. Last year went to Court through the QIA. We had a concern and I wrote a letter and we won the case.
  • We still have a big concern that they like to do testing.
  • Polar bear hunting is in the winter. The ice goes a long distance. There is more water current at the full moon and less current when there is no moon.
  • We can go a long distance when the ice forms as we know where the good areas are for hunting.
  • With the potential testing we know that area. We would like to share this concern with you again.
  • Some of us know some policies - some are mostly story telling. As we use the wording we see on paper that can benefit us.
  • What I am saying is I like to work with you only if the environment is safe for the two youth here. We need to plan for their futures. As elders we need to keep the environment safe for them.
  • I did drilling before but on land and there was barely any ice and it was not moving at all.
  • Testing in our area - just using air pressure this cannot go inside the sear floor. Can you explain what it can do or damage? Can you explain more about the equipment?
  • Spring is not the best time to engage communities because of harvesting.
  • Even with policies, when inspectors are coming things get cleaned up and then when they leave things go back to the old ways. This was seen in Melville Island.
  • We are concerned for our environment - we don't want to see a disaster.
  • Greenland has seismic and drilling. Maybe the Canadian government should look to see how they do things.
  • Perhaps 10 - 12 people are working for the company. Most people stay home and there are no benefits. If animals get affected those working for the company are better off. More people are not working for the company than those that are.
  • I have a concern of marine animals. They could go deaf or die. With marine mammals they are moving all the time.
  • Do the other people that came here work with you?
  • When they are testing in the ocean under the water what is the role of DFO? DFO is supposed to protect me. Did they tell you anything?
  • What is the weighting of other federal authorities versus the community?
  • How is the monitoring done on the affects to animals from small animals all the way up?
  • After the ships are gone who will look for dead fish and seals and deaf seals?
  • There was seismic done in the 70's. Guess it wasn't good enough and now they are doing it again. Does it get old and has to be redone?
  • Still have a concern as in our environment my top priority is to have s safe environment. I traveled from Yellowknife to here and from Iqaluit to here. I know different areas as I have traveled. I want to learn policies when they are applying for licences.
  • I have a concern that they will be searching for gas and oil. Who will search for dead animals?
  • Two reports could be done and they would be different. The Inuit could do one. As Inuit we know what damaged our animals and if the company is not involving local people that is my concern. Research is happening and we don't know. Need more support from local people. I mentioned to Hunters and Trappers Organization to come and the Hamlet council this meeting. Need at least a local person to do that Report. Can you push that ahead to get local people on board when they are testing.
  • Can it be a requirement that local marine monitors be used?
  • Elders have more knowledge. University and younger people don't have the same knowledge. Older people should be observers.
  • If they are getting a licence, if youth are on the ship he can report to elder on what is happening. This would be a better relationship than working against companies.
  • I am thankful you are keeping records of what we are saying. Seems as of today we are not afraid and we can work with each other.
  • I would like you to look into details. A number of local people took training on how to go on the ship. Some of us are trained to do safety boating. We have all this training but still we are not included.
  •  We don't just shot animals and leave them out there. We hunt and eat them.
  • Nunavut does not have devolution. Money just goes to the federal government. Right now we don't benefit. Like to see Nunavut government get revenues from oil and mining. Nunavut is short of cash and envious of the Northwest Territories.
  • If they damage our marine animals we will starve. In Africa they mined for gold and they suffered from hunger and the whole world had to support them and we don't want this.
  • How will our comments and issued raised here play out?
  • When we re all Canadian citizens, why are there two or three different boards?
  • I found out in Yellowknife what your role is. Not everyone knows what your role is.
  • Today I have a concern. I took some notes last night. I know you have an office in Calgary and have a number of staff based there. We are in the High Arctic. We can get information from the internet but can you have someone in Pond Inlet or in the High Arctic rather than just in Calgary?
  • We would clean up when inspectors came and then leave everything when inspectors left.
  • Need an employee in the High Arctic.
  • We don't have shortage or a farm area. We have to go hunt. Sometimes we get nothing and it costs us a lot to hunt. We can't afford to buy food.
  • You can help us a lot but is there any possibility of the NEB having an office in the north? Calgary is a long ways away.
  • There are no people watching. If there is an emergency no one could land - we don't have an air terminal. No one could land - we don't have break water. Equipment couldn't get in if there was an incident. If something happens it would be hazardous. Please prepare for our benefit and help us.
  • Accidentally someone went overboard and had to be medivaced out. He burned from the salt. What would be done if something happens? We are not from the Beaufort. It is different (current and salt).
  • I would like to ask a question with the Greenland drilling. They may not know the water current. Can someone tell them not to drill anymore? Last year we saw some small marine mammals that died down and we know the currents and our environment and when the ice cracks we see little plankton. No one has done research on the water current. We know all icebergs came from Greenland. Can someone make a stop order? Whales and narwhals may be no more. Food is dying down. Seals too. Polar bears eat seals. I would like support for a stop order. Polar bears will be extinct. We are Inuit and we hunt for food not sport hunters. We know now they are not prepared at all and if there was an oil spill what would happen to us?
  • Can we plan something else for our community before oil runs out. Never mind the war, can we make energy that is good. I don't like nuclear energy. Can we think of something for the future? Oil will run out.
  • As we are hunters we know when migration goes. Can we plan for more food in the future rather than oil. If our environment is contaminated and the animals die down it could be dangerous and I would like to get support.
  • Thank you for coming to our community to listen to our concerns.
  • I have a concern that the people who came a couple months ago and were asked questions and they mentioned animals won't be scared of noise and they have the best equipment. In the past they used dynamite and did testing in our area and I saw pictures. They mentioned animals won't run away. Animals run away even with small noises. Some could die down or be deaf.
  • Don't like to see drilling happen. We have full darkness/full light and strong winds. If an incident in the winter, if they don't have a plan for clean up how could the ship come through the ice. In the spring the oil could come to our area because of the current. We know the areas where the oil would come in. I know anmals will die.
  • High Arctic wind is very strong.
  • Just like our ancestors, our children and future children will have to hunt to live and animals will have run away.
  • When drilling is happening they use a big amount of sale. Saw seals near the draw. Never used dynamite but sometimes poured salt on the ground by accident.  They never mentioned where the salt goes. If they are dumping salt, will see dead animals. Two dead animals were put near seal hole and seal never picked it up. Later found small marine animals died down.  
  • Thinking the equipment mentioned won't scare animals. I know they will. That is the reality. They will scare away animals. Need policies and regulations for potential area for drilling. They are attempting to drill in areas where we said no and where w go hunting. Maybe they don't have any concern at all with the fishing.
  • Did they submit an application and is that why you are here.
  • Down south there are farms. This area is like our farm and very important to us.
  • I do have a concern with when you have all the information, can you send summary to our community that we could use and the same to Clyde River?
  • For the filing requirements, if seismic happens, this I our farm. Will there be compensation if wildlife is affected or dies off?
  • Who will be doing the translation at the Roundtable? There are different dialects.
  • When you talk about experts, are these scientists? We say they are newcomers.
  • Other than drilling, it is not only dangerous as we know. We are different people. We used to get one ship only now there are more for gas and furniture for our homes and military and tourist ships in our area. As hunters we wee them as interfering with the animals already.
  • One ship got stuck. Exactly the same could happen with drilling. They could have an oil spill. Are you responsible for watching our water? Are you responsible for the tourist ships and military?
  • We need to know who to talk to if there is an incident.
  • With activities outside of the Nunavut Settlement Area, the Government of Nunavut has nothing to do with resource development. We should wait for devolution to happen before drilling.
  • All NEB is based in Calgary. Need to see a person locally. The yellow area on the map is huge. When activity starts in the future, need an office in our area as well.
  • Can the company drill a hole as big as the blow out preventer so it can be under the sea floor so nets don't tangle?
  • The price of oil plummeted during Bent Horn. Economics have to be there.
  • With seismic testing, with all the technology now, why use old methods? When they shot, kills everything within 100 yards. If using new technologies will there be less impacts?
  • Very thankful that you came and use me as I am. As when I am a child I used to tell my dad who was not nice to me. Tired of this. We are fully adults. Instead you gave us a presentation and listened to our concerns. We have been dealing with companies for many years. If there are no Inuit, we deny their application.
  • Glad you came into our community. Energy in Inuktitut means something different - it means electricity. Maybe should be National Fossil Board.
  • Welcome to our community.
  • You are welcome back in our community anytime.

Concluding remarks:

  • NEB staff are available to assist in completing registration forms for the Roundtable as well as funding applications.
  • Copies of DVDs containing the information on the NEB Arctic Offshore Drilling Review website are available.
  • Electronic copies of the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act and Canada Oil and Gas Drilling and Production Regulations will be sent out this evening by email.
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