NWT Chamber Renews Calls For Regulatory Reform After Sahtu Project Cancelled

MEDIA RELEASE

NWT Chamber Renews Calls for Regulatory Reform after Sahtu Project Cancelled

Yellowknife, NT (November 9, 2012) – The NWT Chamber of Commerce along with the Norman Wells and District Chamber of Commerce today is strongly renewing its cries to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and Minister John Duncan for regulatory reform in the Northwest Territories.

Following the referral of its plans to drill two horizontal wells in the Tulita District to Environmental Assessment (EA) before the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, MGM Energy Corporation has announced its partner Shell Canada Energy has walked away from the project citing an unwillingness to fund the EA process. MGM Energy further scaled back its previously approved plans to drill two vertical wells this winter and now only intends to complete one project this winter.

“MGM Energy simply cannot justify the allocation of resources to pursuing a regulatory process that is uncertain both in terms of requirements and time lines, and thus cost,” MGM Energy President Henry Sykes said in a press release. “We believe it is premature to invest substantial and indeterminate time, money and resources in this regulatory process at the exploratory phase of the Canol shale oil play. As the play advances, the time for such a process may come, but that time is not now.”

“Sahtu oil exploration activity has been a rare bright spot in our economy over the past year,” said NWT Chamber President Hughie Graham. “This new development, whereby hundreds of millions of dollars are literally getting up and walking out of the North due to our flawed regulatory process and organizations, is alarming to say the least.”

Norman Wells and District Chamber of Commerce President Chris Buist said, “For communities like Tulita and Norman Wells, and in fact all of the Sahtu, this activity holds the promise of career and training opportunities, business contracts and a better quality of life for all residents.”

“If this same fate befalls the other companies exploring the Central Mackenzie Valley – or if it spooks them into changing their plans to invest in the North – it will be a long time before this sort of opportunity returns to our territory,” said Graham. “It is imperative that the federal government and Minister Duncan follow through on their longstanding promise to reform the regulatory regime in the NWT before a bucket of ice water is allowed to be dumped on our collective future.”

In association with the network of community chambers of commerce in Fort Simpson, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Hay River, Yellowknife, and Fort Smith, the NWT Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of members across the NWT. For more than 35 years, it has been the only pan-territorial voice of businesses across all sectors of the Northern economy.

For more information, contact the NWT Chamber Office at 867-920-9505 or by email at admin@nwtchamber.com.

SOURCE:  NWT Chamber of Commerce

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Angela About Angela

Hi, I am Angela Fiebelkorn, President of the Fort Simpson Chamber. You can contact us at fscofc@gmail(dot)com or call 867-695-6538.