December 17, 2010 17:35 ET

WWF Urges Adoption of Joint Review Panel's Conservation Standards in Implementing the Mackenzie Gas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 17, 2010) - WWF-Canada recognizes the hard work that has been undertaken by supporters of the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP) to bring it to the point of approval by the National Energy Board yesterday, and calls on governments to endorse high conservation standards set by the Joint Review Panel (JRP)'s recommendations.

Although the NEB's approval came with many important conditions, these are largely technical and site-specific in nature. The Board's decision does not adopt many key recommendations from the JRP, the implementation of which the Panel stressed were vital for social and environmental sustainability. WWF calls for the establishment of a framework to manage cumulative effects, including responsible conservation planning, before industrial development takes place. We fully recognize the need for economic development in the North while adhering to the principle of Conservation First, wherein environmental challenges (especially protected natural areas) are considered while there's an opportunity to do so.

"We applaud the leadership exhibited by the Joint Review Panel," said Dr. Robert Powell, director of WWF-Canada's Mackenzie River Basin program. "The Panel showed the way to progress from the historic pattern of exploitation to a future of environmental stewardship. It's now up to the federal and territorial governments to adopt that approach in a visionary way, in the context of the existing land claims."

"Responsibility now clearly falls on those who will implement the project – the proponents, governments, aboriginal organizations and northern communities - to ensure protection of environmentally significant areas," said Monte Hummel, President Emeritus of WWF-Canada, noting the NEB decision brings WWF's decade-long involvement in the MGP to a close.

The estimated $16-billion project includes a 1,200-kilometer pipeline to carry natural gas from the Beaufort Sea in NWT to markets in northwestern Alberta. 

This news release and associated material can be found on wwf.ca

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