Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 349

349         Arctic Yearbook 2014 extraction and export projects (Hussain 2013). In 2011, Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas) became a large new shareholder in the Umiak natural gas reserves on the northern edge of the Mackenzie River delta and have begun scoping Tuktoyaktuk – less than 12 miles from the Tarium Niryutait MPA – as a potential site for a new natural gas export terminal (Byers 2011). Voutier et al. (2008) have discussed how public participatory processes were again used in 2006 to address ongoing concerns within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region over the cumulative environmental and social impact of new development projects that have traditionally only been reviewed by government on a project by project basis. These efforts – resulting in the development of the Beaufort Sea Strategic Regional Plan of Action in 2007 – are believed to have lain the groundwork necessary for the balancing of regional socio-ecological values while also creating greater regulatory security for investment (Voutier et al. 2008). With so many new and powerful interests taking the field and the high stake risks and expenditures involved in the Arctic’s dynamic regulatory context, it is unclear whether the Inuvialuit Settlement Region’s tradition of cross-sector collective action can persist. What is absolutely clear, however, is that, with the passage of the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEEA) in 2012, the Beaufort Sea’s regional planning efforts have come just in the nick of time. In Gibson’s (2012) words, the new CEEA “eliminates most federal government involvement in environmental assessments and sharply curtails the scope and potential effectiveness of what remains” (179). The new CEEA legislation is anticipated to reduce the number of environmental assessments the federal government pursues each year from several thousand to a few hundred. The assessments that remain on the table will be undertaken – or not – at ministerial discretion and will offer little opportunity for the alteration of project plans. Almost all of the federal government’s own projects will be exempted and no concern will be given to the cumulative impacts of individual