Mr. Speaker, in resonse to (i), there are two separate proposals to build an Alaska Highway pipeline, AHP. Both project proponents are benefiting from single window access into a streamlined regulatory approvals process, either through a re-staffed Northern Pipeline Agency, NPA, or else through the Major Projects Management Office which was created to improve regulatory performance through a more accountable, predictable, transparent and timely regulatory review process for major resource projects. On March 5, 2008, the then Minister of Natural Resources Canada, NRCan, wrote to the Governor of Alaska expressing support for an AHP. NRCan has publicly expressed the government’s support for an AHP at large conferences including the Alaska Resource Development conference in Anchorage, Alaska, in November 2008, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Conference in May 2008, and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association’s Annual Dinners in 2008 and 2009. Recognizing the importance of first nation engagement and consultation, the Government of Canada is engaging first nations along the proposed pipeline route. The government has both funded and participated in aboriginal workshops organized by the Alaska Highway Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition, AHAPC. Currently, federal departments including NRCan, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the NPA and the National Energy Board, NEB, are conducting a series of Yukon and first nation community visits along the Yukon portion of the Alaska Highway to raise awareness and answer questions related to the proposed pipeline.
In response to (ii), since January 2006, NRCan has had several meetings with the proponents for an AHP. Meetings have taken place at all levels from working level through to ministerial. First nations are important stakeholders and the government has been actively meeting with them. To date there have been three aboriginal workshops hosted by the AHAPC, which is a service organization to Yukon first nations along the proposed route. Similar, though smaller meetings, have also taken place in British Columbia. In addition to formal workshops, NRCan has met separately with the chair of the AHAPC. Until recently, NRCan chaired an AHP Director General Steering Committee which met semi-annually to share information with key federal departments. The committee’s most active sub-group was the Environmental Assessment and Regulatory Working Group, EARWG. The EARWG met regularly with provincial government representatives as well.
In response to (iii), many AHP related expenditures have been routine business including preparing briefing material and monitoring project developments. However, NRCan did provide approximately $18,000 toward funding an Aboriginal Pipeline Coalition workshop in 2007. Approximately $3,000 was spent to attend each of the three workshops. Attending the round of community visits currently under way will add additional expenses. NRCan also sent several attendees and speakers for large conferences including the Alaska Resource Development Conference and the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission conference. Such conferences cost approximately $3,000 to $5,000 per person attending, including travel. Finally, NRCan houses the NPA, which has responsibility for the Foothills Alaska pipeline project. However, all NPA’s expenditures are cost recovered from the owner of Foothills, TransCanada Pipelines.
In response to (iv), both the TransCanada and the Denali projects have estimated first gas to start flowing in 2018--best case scenarios.