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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Imagine a world where "sequencing conservation accomplishments ahead of economic development" exists!

from the WWF Canada blog
“Conservation first” and the Mackenzie Gas Project
by Monte Hummel

WWF carefully chose the $16 billion Mackenzie Gas Project – the largest project proposed so far for the Canadian Arctic – as a test case for our “conservation first” principle. This means sequencing conservation measures up-front, as a condition of economic development. For example, we argued that the people most affected by this project must be given the opportunity to identify and reserve areas they want to protect in a natural state, before the project proceeds. This was also supported by the majority of northerners who testified before the Joint Review Panel (JRP) hearings.

In its published report of 176 recommendations, the JRP strongly supported our view. In fact, some of their recommendations were almost word-for-word what WWF had said. So far, so good. Getting just this far has taken a number of years.

However, the Panel only makes recommendations, not decisions. It is now up to the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Government of Canada to decide whether they will actually implement what the JRP has urged them to do. Therefore the action has shifted to the final arguments before the NEB in Yellowknife and Inuvik this month, between April 5-23.

The stakes for this precedent-setting project are high–in effect, whether sequencing conservation accomplishments ahead of economic development will become accepted as a way of doing business in Canada’s North, and elsewhere.

Monte Hummel from WWF Canada will be presenting WWF’s final argument in Inuvik and will be keep supporters posted on how WWF does on the WWF Canada blog

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