Pipeline assessment must include how gas will be used
Posted on 01 April 2007
Environmental groups representing millions of North Americans are calling on the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Mackenzie Gas Project to consider, as an integral part of the project, how the gas carried by the pipeline would be used.Environmental groups representing millions of North Americans are calling on the Joint Review Panel (JRP) for the Mackenzie Gas Project to consider, as an integral part of the project, how the gas carried by the pipeline would be used.
WWF-Canada has asked the Panel to consider end-use scenarios and thus address the project’s full impact, including global warming impacts from all end products.
The project, backed with billions of dollars from big oil and Canadian federal and territorial governments, would trigger the petro-industrialisation of Canada’s North, destroy parts of the region’s boreal forest, and power greenhouse-gasintensive projects such as further development of Alberta’s tar sands, which fuel North America’s cars and trucks (see Connected to the Arctic: What in tar nation? on page 21–22).
Pipeline proponents continue to dispute a link between the gas, to be extracted from the Beaufort Sea, and the tar sands.
However the Sierra Club of Canada has obtained new maps, which indicate that a direct interconnection is planned. The organisation insists the JRP must assess global warming and other impacts associated with using gas carried by the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline to produce the most carbon-intensive oil on the planet.
With the US as a major market for Canadian energy, US groups have been closely following the hearings as well.
The organisations have noted that only one-third of the gas fields needed to provide gas for the pipeline has been included in the environmental assessment for the project.
It is particularly unbalanced to exclude the development and global warming impacts of the other two-thirds of the gas since the project’s proponents have counted their economic benefits.
The JRP hearings on cumulative effects, and project sustainability and alternatives, have yet to be scheduled. It is expected that these vital topics will be covered later this year, and that the JRP’s final report and recommendations will be submitted by December 2007.
Julia Langer Director, Global Threats