North

Northern Cross proposal not going to YESAB executive committee for now

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board says it will not send a proposed oil and gas project right to the executive committee, in spite of a request from three First Nations to send the project right to the highest level of review.

Project will only go to executive committee if referred at end of assessment

A sign at Chance Road about 35 kilometres south of of Eagle Plains, Yukon. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr'ondek Hwech'in and the Gwich’in Tribal Council all have concerns about Northern Cross’ exploratory oil and gas project. (submitted)

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board says it will not send a proposed oil and gas project right to the executive committee, in spite of a request from three First Nations.

The Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr'ondek Hwech'in and the Gwich’in Tribal Council all have major concerns about Northern Cross’ plans to drill and test up to 20 oil and gas wells in Yukon’s Eagle Plains area over the next eight years.

They say that crucial baseline data is lacking, and they want the project to go right to the highest level of review.

Bobbi Milnes, the manager of the YESAB office in Dawson, says for now, the assessment board can’t do that.

“The only way this project would go before the executive committee is if it's referred to the executive committee at the end of the assessment,” Milnes says.

But YESAB says Northern Cross must provide more detailed information about its proposal, currently under review.

On Dec. 10, YESAB sent Northern Cross a list of 35 questions.

“They kind of run the gamut from water issues, air issues, waste management issues, the issue of NORM or naturally occurring radioactive materials, acid rock drainage, wildlife issues, heritage resources, traffic, questions about gas processing,” Milnes says.

“It's a pretty broad information request.”

Northern Cross has just under a month to respond, but could ask for a one-year extension.

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