Alberta Premier: “Radical Transparency” From Imperial Oil After Kearl Oilsands Spill

Danielle Smith Alberta Premier
The Canadian PressS/Spencer Colby

Danielle Smith, Premier of Alberta, is insisting that a major oil company in the province enhance its communication with the public, following claims that they had not informed First Nations and the Northwest Territories of oil sands waste spills.

Last week, Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake oilsands facility in northern Alberta was reported to have had two spills in the past year, one of which was not disclosed to the local First Nation chief for several months.

Smith told reporters that she expected “radical transparency” from Imperial Oil going forward in regard to the allegations made against the company and the government for failing to notify the Northwest Territories and local First Nations.

“I’m pleased to report that none of this spill got into the tributaries, which means it didn’t get into the river, which means it didn’t get into drinking water,” she said.

“It doesn’t absolve the company from needing to do a better job to communicate that to the public, and I think the regulator did its job by demanding a very quick resolution to this.”

In May of last year, the Alberta Energy Regulator was informed that an oil sand storage facility had discharged an undetermined amount of its materials. This material was found to contain high levels of iron, arsenic, and sulphates, as well as other potentially hazardous components.

Residents and representatives of the Northwest Territories expressed their disappointment with Imperial Oil and the Alberta Energy Regulator last week following the news that a hazardous leak had gone on for months before it was detected.

On the 31st of January, it was reported to authorities that a leak of 5.3 million litres of wastewater had occurred in a Kearl tailings pond.

On Monday, Imperial Oil apologized for the incident on a new statement.

“First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest apologies for this incident. Cleanup is well advanced, and we are taking all necessary steps to prevent this from happening again,” said senior vice-president of upstream at Imperial, Simon Younger.

“Imperial has always been dedicated to transparently communicating with our community partners, including local Indigenous communities, as they rightly expect. We recognize that we have fallen short of these expectations, and we are committed to rebuilding trust by keeping them regularly informed of our operations as we continue addressing this issue.”

The organization declared that they have achieved considerable improvement regarding the problem that occurred on January 31.

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Written by Olivia Woods

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