Figure 8 Mackenzie gas pipeline route

Development of energy transmission infrastructure in the Far North has been experiencing strong growth since the 1970s, particularly in the Mackenzie River Valley, where a gas pipeline project is currently underway.

Figure 8 shows the route of the Mackenzie gas pipeline, only the northernmost part of which is located in the area where polar bears are likely to be present. The communities identified included go from North to South along the pipeline:

Parsons Lake
Inuvik Area facility
Loon River North future compressor station
Enbridge interconnect facility
Great Bear River compressor station
River between Tow Mountains compressor station
Trout river future station
Interconnect facility (located in Alberta)

This project, at an estimated cost of $16.2 billion (of which about 10% is for the territorial section that may have an impact on polar bears), will create 6200 to 8200 jobs, depending on the season.

The environmental impact study anticipates that the project (construction phases, project operation and completion) will have minimal impact on polar bears. The impact could be on species that are part of the polar bear’s food chain and might involve sensory disturbances around the Niglintgak site. However, according to the IUCN (2009), the effects of noise on polar bears and their prey are poorly understood.