From: Jeffrey Jones, Reuters
Published December 31, 2009 06:09 AM

Arctic pipeline conditionally approved

The C$16.2 billion ($15.4 billion) Mackenzie pipeline in Canada's Arctic should be allowed to proceed, provided 176 recommendations aimed at securing socioeconomic benefits and minimizing environmental damage are followed, regulators ruled on Wednesday.

In a much-anticipated report, the Joint Review Panel said it believed the huge gas project would bring overall benefits to Canada's Northwest Territories and avoid major ecological impact if the oil companies proposing the line and governments follow its list of measures.

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The list is as diverse as analyzing the impact of climate change on facilities buried in permafrost, monitoring grizzly bear dens, and assessing if alcohol and drug abuse programs in the sparsely populated region are adequate.

"The Mackenzie Gas Project and associated Northwest Alberta Facilities would provide the foundation for a sustainable northern future," the seven-member panel said. "The challenge to all will be to build on that foundation."

The pipeline would carry at least 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day to the Alberta border from fields in the Mackenzie Delta near the Beaufort Sea. In Alberta, the gas could be routed to numerous markets in Canada and the United States.

Article continues: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BT3ZK20091230

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