The Canadian National Energy Board said Chairman Gaetan Caron started a five-day trip Tuesday to the shores of the Beaufort Sea. The NEB said he would observe first-hand the connection aboriginal communities have to the arctic environment.
"This rare opportunity will provide the NEB with a better understanding of what it is to protect when carrying out its mandate in regulating oil and gas development in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea: the land, the ocean, communities and people's way of life," a NEB statement said.
Provincial regulators in Alberta said in April they were in talks with the Northwest Territories to build an oil pipeline to ports near the Beaufort Sea.
Provincial leaders and aboriginal communities have balked at plans to expand pipeline networks in the region. Aboriginal communities have said their coastal habitats would be threatened by oil developments.
Provincial and federal administrators in June proposed an increase in corporate absolute liability to nearly $1 billion for energy explorers working off the eastern Canadian coast. They said the increase is part of a responsible resource development plan.