Meeting Summary - 7 December 2010 - Gwich'in Tribal Council boardroom, Inuvik, NT

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Tuesday
7 December 2010
3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Gwich'in Tribal Council boardroom
Inuvik, NT

Purpose: Introduce the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review to the Gwich'in Tribal Council

Participants
Participants
Richard Nerysoo President, Gwich'in Tribal Council
Gaétan Caron Chair and Chief Executive Officer, NEB
David Hamilton Member, NEB
Brian Chambers Northern Advisor, 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 GTC was asked "what questions do you need answers to prior to the NEB considering an application for offshore drilling?"

Dialogue with President of the GTC:

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

  1. Clarity of Mandate and Authority of the NEB with respect to offshore drilling:

    • How and what shipping policies will affect decisions of the NEB

  2. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • There isn't current capacity as it has been many years since people worked on the rigs in the Arctic
    • Since the offshore activity left years ago, the ice breaker capacity has been lost

  3. General:

    • The Gwich'in recognize the role of the Inuvialuit but also have existing rights under the boundaries established by Treaty 11
    • How Arctic exploration activities fit into the Arctic Circumpolar policy on offshore drilling
    • The focus is on the actual drilling activities but there will be other impacts
    • Harbour development is a consideration with respect to capacity and infrastructure
    • Canada can be a leader in progressive offshore regulation - being firm and fair builds confidence with the public
    • Best technical information and policies should be a guiding framework and not a matter of sovereignty
    • Fate for the protection of the environment from offshore drilling is in the hands of the NEB

  4. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • There is no research ongoing to determine if there is capacity to respond to an incident in the Arctic
    • Testing of equipment should be done on ice and water using equipment that has been exposed to the elements that are unique to the environment of the Arctic
    • Climate change will impact the technology that is required (more ice build-up)

  5. Value of Resources:

    • Due to the migratory process, it is not just the Beaufort that will suffer if there is a spill

Concluding Remarks:

  • GTC intends to be more engaged in the Review to understand the consequences on the Gwich'in
  • The success of engagement will be judged by how effective the public's suggestions impact the policy at the end of the Review
  • NEB will be back in Inuvik in January to listen to people and hear their perspectives and concerns
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