The Globe and Mail reports in its Thursday, May 9, edition that three Athabasca-area first nations from the Fort McMurray area are urging Ottawa not to exempt any oil sands projects from federal regulatory scrutiny, as the Liberal government has proposed.
The Globe's Shawn McCarthy writes that chiefs from Fort McKay First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation on Wednesday criticized Alberta's oversight of in situ projects, which use steam and solvents to extract bitumen from underground, rather than open-pit mining. They said the province has a high threshold before it is willing to conduct a full review of those developments, and that industry typically splits them into smaller segments in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny.
"Unfortunately, Alberta does not know, or does not want to know, how to manage [the] cumulative effects" of the scores of such projects that affect traditional indigenous territories, Mikisew Chief Archie Waquan said in a news release on Wednesday.
"Adopting exemptions for in situ projects that allow industry to elude environmental assessment as the impacts on landscape and our people increase is not just crazy, it's negligent," he said.
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