The Globe and Mail reports in its Monday, May 20, edition that Ottawa and Alberta are crafting new rules with industry to authorize discharges of treated effluent into the Athabasca River.
The Globe's Jeff Lewis writes that Ottawa is targeting final regulations for 2022 modelled on existing rules that authorize releases from metal, mineral and diamond mines, provided contaminants are within regulated limits for "deleterious" substances under the federal Fisheries Act. The changes require approval under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
The policy work is a sharp break from current rules that prohibit any waste water releases and could deepen concerns about the ecological health of one of the world's largest freshwater deltas.
Ottawa says it would put in place stringent environmental controls before permitting any discharges. The industrial waste has attracted international scorn for killing migratory birds. In 2015, the Alberta eased regulations and began developing policy and criteria for tailings water release after the industry said it could not meet more stringent cleanup standards.
Federal and industry officials say authorized discharges could accelerate wider reclamation efforts.
© 2019 Canjex Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.