Meeting Summary - 25 January 2011 - Paulatuk Visitors Centre, Paulatuk, NT

Arctic Offshore Drilling Review

Meeting Summary

Date and Location
Date Location
Tuesday
25 January 2011
2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Paulatuk Visitors Centre
Paulatuk, NT

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

Participants
Participants
Lawrence Ruben
Tony Green
Ray Ruben
Lottie Thrasher
Millie Thrasher
Bobby Ruben
Fred Bennett
Frank Thrasher
Frank Green
Anny Illasiak
Ed Gruben
Mary Gruben
Bill Ruben
Ray Ruben
Mary Ruben
David Ruben
 
Doug Esogak Inuvik Game Council
Steve Baryluk Joint Secretariat
Jimmy Kalinek Inuvik Game Council
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 and what is of concern if you hear there might be drilling later on?

Dialogue with HTC and CC members:

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

  1. Emergency Response and Preparedness:

    • The US said BOP's would never fail but know now that isn't true
    • Why is it called a blow out preventer when it didn't work?
    • If the BOP was fail proof what will they use next?
    • Seeing the oil spill in the Gulf and how much time it took to get everything in place, what would happen here where there are no resources?

  2. General:

    • Appreciate the NEB making time to come to the communities to talk to the people
    • Before these meetings didn't know what the NEB was but it was important that the NEB came and talked to the people
    • Happy to hear there will be no time limits - hurt when IGC was making a presentation at a conference and was showed a time card - came back and said he would go on "Eskimo time" and finish and not have time limits
    • When first knew it was the federal government coming, had a different view until what the NEB is was explained - proud that the NEB went to see the schools and students
    • People may still not understand the power the NEB has - it has a great amount of power
    • Are there recommendations coming out from the NEB or anyone about the Gulf?
    • Most industry teinks relief wells are not necessary - risk vs cost
    • Oil companies came and updated the communities about their plans for 2014 and 2015 - BP camn under another company name only showing graphs, there has not been realistic testing yet. How can they be trusted with graphs when they already failed in the Gulf?
    • During the last consultation in Paulatuk with Imperial Oil they said 49% had no concern and this didn't seem right. Asked Imperial to explain it to IGC and they couldn't. There were 13 people in the meeting and that was used as a percentage of the community. It turned out there were actually only 9 people.
    • There are doubts when oil companies come and visit communities that are more isolated than where the activity will be - communities want to hear what Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik are saying
    • Something happened at the wrong time - nature and the climates affect things - nobody tries to make accidents
    • Industry presented graphs - can't measure a way of life and the land on a graph
    • Anything that happens in the Beaufort will affect us here (ie: wood coming up on the Mackenzie)
    • Industry should not do drilling if they don't have a preventative measures plan
    • At recent oil and gas conference a question was asked and a comment was made that there were 62 wells without incident and then the next day the number was different - when asked what an incident meant it was said major oil spill. A small spill will cause problems
    • If companies get away with a little, eventually they will get away with more
    • Environmental monitors were basically observers and can only report findings
    • There are supposed to be wildlife and environmental monitors but a lot of time there are no Inuvialuit Land Administration monitors
    • Has Chevron purchased any areas in the Beaufort?
    • How deep was it where BP was drilling?
    • Has BP answered if it would have been cheaper to build 2 drill ships or wait until something happens and they pay for clean up
    • After the community tour the NEB will find all communities along the coast have the same concerns
    • There used to be a training camp but now don't even know where it is

  3. Past Experiencess:

    • If you complained about safety on rigs in the past you would lose your job
    • There are those who worked in the past and saw incidents, including major ones, and they weren't reported
    • People who worked in the '70's were afraid to report things
    • Since the '70's the land claims have been settled - before that companies didn't have to consult, the federal government gave them the rights
    • At Darma Bar (?) engines were running 24 hours a day for one month just moving the rig and putting it together - first thing that was seen was an oil spill and it was reported to the HTC - environmental monitors aren't saying anything

  4. Unique Arctic Environment:

    • Companies have to understand working up north is different than down south - in October it is blowing and snowing - it is really hard to work up here and there is no support
    • The climate is so different and what might be easy to do in the south may be impossible here - the weather conditions are completely different and are harsh - safety conditions are different here
    • Climates are so different that they might affect the BOP here
    • When drilling is happening and ice is coming in and ice breakers are used this means no more multiyear ice - companies don't have answers about how it will be brought back
    • Were there studies in the past on acoustic ice?
    • If the ice is broken up it will melt faster
    • At the International Polar Year meetings heard about ice conditions and the shifting of ice - Circumpolar Flaw Lead System study
    • The currents in the Beaufort are really strong and could affect drilling
    • The blind spot is Pierce Point up to Bailly Island for ice study
    • Ice is unpredictable and can't be controlled. Having 50-60 years of experience on the ice doing research (polar bears) and living on the ice once saw 60 mph east wind blowing and there was ice here and there and a bit further out. About a mile out saw a polar bear swimming - when it cleared it was ice and it was travelling as if it had a motor - have also seen ice go dead calm when there is no current
    • Companies have graphs and plans but what is the validity of them when they are drilling in the most delicate place on earth. If they are careless, like in the Gulf, what will happen here?

  5. Value of Resources:

    • Elders always said don't give up your land for a dollar
    • How do you put a dollar figure on a lifestyle
    • Beluga are healthier here than when they go through Tuktoyaktuk - this makes this area important for biodiversity
    • In the spring almost everyone, even kids, are out on the land - this is how the kids learn
    • With industry the presentations are based on modeling and should be traditional knowledge - in Yukon they wanted to reduce harvest but then found 30,000 more caribou than the modeling results
    • Scientists found out in the Yukon there was caribou and human meetings (people eating caribou back 6000 years) - without traditional knowledge scientists won't know this.
    • At a high altitude a siksik trap was found and it was still set - brought back and an elder was shown and the elder was still doing it the same way - this shows that tradition and skills are passed down

Concluding Remarks and Follow-up Matters:

  • NEB encourages further participation in the Review
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