Northern Cross Limited has filed an application in federal court against the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board, saying YESAB's procedure is inconsistent.

The application is in relation to the company's controversial application for an oil and gas exploration project in Eagle Plains, which the energy company says took about 20 months to process through YESAB.

Northern Cross president Richard Wyman said similar applications took between two and seven months.

Now, the application has been referred to YESAB's executive committee for further review.

"This whole process was unique compared to any other experience we've had with YESAB," said Wyman.

The application is for exploratory drilling. Wyman says the company has had three similar applications successfully assessed recently. He said applications to build roads and do seismic testing were also recently assessed without any delays.

Wyman said the intent of court action isn't to alter or eliminate the need for assessment.

"What I am asking for is consistency from one process to the next for similar activities, so that there is a predictability of process, time frame, information required, treatment of the information, so on."

According to an evaluation report of Northern Cross's application on the YESAB website, the board was "unable to determine the probability or magnitude of changes to caribou migration and seasonal distribution in relation to project activities and the associated duration, reversibility, and extent of such effects."

Still, Wyman said he is "surprised and disappointed" that YESAB referred the application to its executive committee for further review. He said Northern Cross invested time, effort and money into this process.

"I would just say that when you look at other jurisdictions on the planet for similar activities, it's not quite the same setup."

YESAB wouldn't comment on the court action.