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Pana Merchant

The Hon. Pana  Merchant, B.A. Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Pana Merchant represents the province of Saskatchewan and the Senatorial Division of Saskatchewan. She has served in the Senate of Canada since December 12, 2002.

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Arctic Offshore Drilling Requirements

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Statement made on 26 October 2010 by Senator Nick Sibbeston

Hon. Nick G. Sibbeston:

Honourable senators, my question is about the North and particularly about the review of Arctic offshore drilling.

On May 11 of this year, the National Energy Board announced it would conduct a review of Arctic safety and environmental offshore drilling requirements. A draft scope was released on June 10. The board received 60 submissions during the public comments phase. A revised scope was issued in September.

The review is conducted under the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act, COGOA. It therefore operates under different rules than the NEB.

Beginning this fall, the NEB will meet with Aboriginal groups, Northern governments and communities. They have committed to consult Northerners.

One concern that has been raised in the NWT is whether or not there will be adequate funds to permit full participation by interested Northerners in the review. COGOA does not provide such assistance as a matter of course. The NEB will do its best to promote full participation. Still, it is doubtful they will be able to assist Aboriginal groups, Northern communities or environmental organizations to do research unless they are provided with funds to do so by government.

What steps will the government take to ensure that all the questions concerning Arctic offshore drilling are answered in this review? Will those measures include participant funding so that all voices are heard and not just those of industry proponents?

Please click here to read the full text of the Senator's question


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