Canada's NEB to Begin Mackenzie Gas Project Hearing on January 25th

The National Energy Board (NEB) will begin its public hearing on the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project in Inuvik on Wednesday, January 25, 2006.

The NEB set its hearing schedule after obtaining comments in communities during a Pre-Hearing Planning Conference in four Northwest Territories locations and through feedback received in writing and by phone.

"In setting the schedule, we wanted to ensure that people affected by the project have full opportunity to participate in the review process," said National Energy Board Chairman and CEO Kenneth Vollman, one of three NEB members selected for the Mackenzie Gas Project hearing.

Vollman noted that the schedule is coordinated with the environmental assessment process conducted by the Joint Review Panel for the Mackenzie Gas Project (JRP.) A Cooperation Plan designed to reduce regulatory duplication and provide clarity of process was signed in 2002.

The JRP focus is on the environmental, socio-economic, and cultural issues of the project. The NEB will consider all other issues including engineering, safety and economic matters and will make a decision on whether the project is in the public interest after receiving the JRP's report and the response to it from the Government of Canada.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal agency that regulates several aspects of Canada's energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental protection and economic efficiency in the Canadian public interest within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy development, and trade.