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Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and Government of the Northwest Territories announce support for securing the energy security in the Western Arctic
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) today announced their support for the development of gas resources in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to ensure the energy security of communities in the Beaufort Delta.
“There are trillions of cubic feet of natural gas within our region, yet our communities are becoming increasingly energy insecure,” said IRC Chair and CEO, Duane Smith. “We are forced to rely on fuel for heating and power generation that is imported from thousands of kilometers from the south along a road subject to frequent and extended outages. The transportation alone emits thousands of tonnes of carbon and particulate into our atmosphere and adds exorbitant costs to consumers. This vulnerability holds us back economically, socially and environmentally. It is an irony that we should not have to tolerate.”
“Our government has always encouraged responsible development of the vast and valuable resources in the NWT,” said NWT Premier, Robert McLeod. “We are a territory of self-starters and we cannot keep waiting for others to ensure the energy security of our residents. The GNWT fully supports the IRC in its pursuit of the development of the gas resources within the ISR. In this, the mandates of our governments are aligned.”
While plans to access natural gas resources in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region continue to develop, early analysis shows that such a project would have far-reaching benefits for the Beaufort Delta and the NWT as a whole. In addition to reduced costs to consumers, improved reliability of supply, and fewer greenhouse gas emissions, local residents would see much needed short-term and long-term employment and capacity building opportunities.
“We are encouraged to see that our targeted investments in the Beaufort Delta are starting to see returns,” said Minister of Infrastructure, Wally Schumann. “A principal objective in constructing the Inuvik-Tuktoyktuk Highway was to open the great potential of this region and help residents participate meaningfully and fairly in the northern and national economy. We look forward to supporting the IRC as it continues to explore this critical energy initiative,” stated the Minister.
The development, operation, and maintenance of natural resources is a complex business. Over its 34-year history IRC has closely regulated access to and the use and remediation of Inuvialuit lands. Over the last 20 years, through its wholly owned subsidiary, IRC has been co-owner of the Ikhil natural gas well and has been a one-third shareholder in Inuvik Gas Ltd. In these roles, IRC has acquired extensive experience in the field and has developed highly functional partnerships with industry. Along with these partners, Inuvialuit will have the capacity - and the mandate under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement - to ensure the safe and responsible operation of these local Inuvialuit assets.
“As representative of the rights and interests of Inuvialuit, we have an obligation to ensure that the resources within our lands are managed responsibly and for the benefit of all Inuvialuit for generations to come,” said Mr. Smith. “We will use our experience and our partnerships to ensure we succeed in this venture and create a foundation for clean, sustainable growth. It is our constitutional imperative and our commitment to the people of this region”.
For more information, please contact:
Inuvialuit Corporate Group
Kate Darling, General Counsel
Government of the Northwest Territories
Charlotte Digness, Media and Communications Coordinator