Canadian government won't let Deh Cho block pipeline
The Canadian government has taken its toughest line yet against dissident aboriginal communities, saying native land claims can't be used to block an Arctic gas pipeline.
Indian Affairs Minister Robert Nault told a news conference Oct. 12 the Deh Cho First Nations will not have veto rights over other aboriginal groups that want to participate with Mackenzie Delta gas producers in building a pipeline.
"The Deh Cho themselves know that is the position of the government of Canada," he said.
But Nault also said the government has no plans to provide Northwest Territories natives with loan guarantees, which could exceed C$1 billion, to take up to a one-third equity stake in a Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
The Deh Cho have insisted they must first resolve outstanding land claims with the government before they will join the Aboriginal Pipeline Group in signing an agreement with the Delta producers' consortium.
Deh Cho Grand Chief Mike Nadli accused the federal government of a "major breach of good faith negotiations" in endorsing the pipeline without adequately addressing Deh Cho concerns.
A tentative agreement was reached in June and executives of the Delta consortium are expected to sign an historic agreement today reinforcing arrangements for aboriginal ownership in a pipeline.
Northwest Territories Energy Minister Joe Handley said the agreement will send a clear message that development of the Mackenzie Delta is economically viable, "even at today's (gas) prices."
More South Kuparuk exploration wells proposed
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Oct. 12 that Phillips Alaska Inc. is proposing three new exploratory wells east of the Colville River and south of the Kuparuk River unit.
The Grizzly No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, would be drilled in the 2001-2006 winter drilling seasons. The wells would require 36.5 miles of ice roads from the Kuparuk River unit 2P pad and one approximately 500 by 500 foot ice pad per drill site. Phillips would drill as many as three penetrations (one well and two sidetracks) per pad.
The Grizzly No. 1 is proposed for 2,754 feet from the south line and 3,311 feet from the west line of section 1, township 4 north, range 5 east, Umiat Meridian.
The Grizzly No. 2 is proposed for 311 feet from the south line and 4,015 feet from the west line of section 14, township 5 north, range 5 east, Umiat Meridian.
The Grizzly No. 3 is proposed for 4,071 feet from the south line and 2,770 feet from the west line of section 8, township 6 north, range 5 east, Umiat Meridian.