Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Kearl mine has been ordered to take urgent measures to prevent seepage from a tailings pond after federal inspectors found that the leak was dangerous to wildlife.
“Based on information enforcement officers have to date, the seep is believed to be deleterious, or harmful, to fish,” stated Nicole Allen from Environment Canada.
“On March 10, 2023, enforcement officers issued a Fisheries Act direction to Imperial Oil. The direction requires immediate action to contain the seep and prevent it from entering a fish-bearing waterbody.”
In May, the Kearl site, located close to Fort McMurray, Alberta, experienced evidence of seepage, however, neither Imperial nor the Alberta Energy Regulator informed local First Nations, provincial, or federal environmental regulators.
Government officials have stated that this type of leak must be reported within the first 24 hours
First Nations people, who cultivate on nearby territory, were understandably upset when they discovered that nine months had gone between the detection of the initial leak and the public news.
“Identify the causes of Imperial’s tailings breaches and find a resolution immediately,” said Grand Chief of the Treaty 8 First Nations, Arthur Noskey. “Imperial and the governments must contain tar sands’ toxic leaks.”
According to the Northwest Territories administration, they should have been notified as well due to a bilateral agreement that they have with Alberta regarding the watershed.
Allen explained that if a harmful substance were to be accidentally released into a body of water that contains marine life, or if there was an urgent and serious danger of such an accident, the federal minister could intervene using government regulations.
Premier of Alberta Danielle Smith claims there was no harm to wildlife and no contamination of drinking water.
Allen confirmed that Environment Canada would maintain surveillance on the release cleanup.
“Inspectors are to return to the Kearl site in the coming days to assess the measures Imperial has taken to stop the seeping, which is occurring on land near two tributaries to the Athabasca River,” she added.
“Officers are to remain at the site to monitor the cleanup as well as collect more information to see if the federal Fisheries Act has been broken.”
Original source material for this article taken from here