(YELLOWKNIFE) Monday, April 27, 2015 – “The Committee has heard northerners raise important questions regarding the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the Northwest Territories and we support their call for more time to review and discuss the proposed regulations,” says Chair Robert Hawkins.
“We know that there is substantial potential for jobs and economic development, but also that there is an element of risk with even the most robust regulatory framework. With no fracturing activity taking place now or in the near future, we have time to develop regulations in keeping with northern priorities identified by northern people. It is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that the voices of the people are heard.”
The Committee further responds to the Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Investment’s remarks that their reports solely identified northern priorities for any hydraulic fracturing regulatory framework.
As part of its ongoing work, the Committee has tabled two reports respecting hydraulic fracturing in the Legislative Assembly, responding to preliminary fact-finding missions led by the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment in 2012 and 2013. Its recommendations to Government followed these visits to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and North Dakota and spoke to the NWT’s pre-devolution regulatory framework. Both reports also encouraged ongoing and meaningful public consultation.
“The Committee has repeatedly emphasized the importance of continued research, as well as consultation beyond government and industry partners and outside of the regional centres,” says Mr. Hawkins. “After devolution, this matters more than ever.”
Members continue to review the proposed regulations and encourage all NWT residents to share their perspectives on this important issue with their MLAs and in future public sessions.
The Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment has scheduled its public engagement period to extend to June 2015 at a minimum.
The current committee consists of MLAs Robert Hawkins (Yellowknife Centre), Frederick Blake Jr. (Mackenzie Delta), Robert Bouchard (Hay River North), Bob Bromley (Weledeh), Kevin Menicoche (Nahendeh), and Michael Nadli (Deh Cho).
For more information, please contact:
Robert Hawkins, Yellowknife Centre MLA
Legislative Assembly of the NWT
Highlights from the Committee’s Reports
The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure reviews and responds to a range of Government-led initiatives, including the regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing in the Northwest Territories. All documents tabled in the Legislative Assembly are available online at www.assembly.gov.nt.ca.
From Committee Report 6-17(3), Report on August 2012 Hydraulic Fracturing Study Tour:
“The Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure recommends that the Government of the Northwest Territories include in its policy on hydraulic fracturing requirements for fair and transparent communication and opportunities for public engagement throughout all phases of the development of shale oil and gas projects.”
From Committee Report 1-17(5), Report on Bakken Shale Formation Tour 2013:
“The devolution of land and resource management affords the Northwest Territories a significant opportunity to design and implement a responsible regulatory regime. Representatives of the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy recommended enacting legislative and regulatory instruments that establish and enforce meaningful consequences for industry.”
“As Committee members reflect on their experience of the Bakken tour, they identify elements of shale oil development that were not included on the agenda, such as water withdrawal and permitting processes, waste confinement and disposal, pipeline infrastructure, and in-depth discussion of the social and environmental impacts of the resource boom.”
“It is to our immediate and long-term advantage to develop a responsible, well-informed policy on the use of this technology and ensure that all voices are heard on this important issue.”