Northwest Territories expects gas line

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2003

WHITEHORSE, Yukon - The premier of the Northwest Territories says the Canadian war for the natural gas pipeline is over and he's won.

A year ago, Premier Stephen Kakfwi and then-Yukon Premier Pat Duncan were pushing for a pipeline in their respective territories.

But now, natural gas producers and pipeline builders are ready to apply for a permit to build a line in the Northwest Territories' Mackenzie Valley, and most Native first nations in that territory have agreed to work together on a pipeline.

Kakfwi said that at one time the Alaska Highway pipeline, proposed to carry Alaska North Slope gas, was considered the leader. But because the Alaska Highway pipeline was determined to not be economically viable, industry has deemed the Mackenzie Valley line worthwhile, Kakfwi said.

Kakfwi was in the Yukon last week to sign an accord with Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie to work together on health care, tourism, education, aboriginal languages and resource development.

The Yukon will benefit with jobs from a Northwest Territories pipeline, Kakfwi said. And the pipeline will make the Yukon more enticing for gas exploration.

Fentie has been pushing for the creation of a Dempster lateral pipeline that would go through northern Yukon, taking that gas to market.

Former Yukon Premier Duncan took Fentie to task for not continuing her push to get the Alaska Highway gas line built first.

As for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, "We're not even getting crumbs from the table," she said.

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