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Pembina and Water Matters React: Noncompliance with tailings Directive 074 a growing concern

11 Aug 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA — Simon Dyer, oil sands program director for the Pembina Institute, and Joe Obad, associate director of Water Matters, responded to today's announcement that the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has approved Imperial Oil’s Kearl oil sands tailings plan:

“While the ERCB has rejected certain elements of Imperial’s deficient approach to addressing tailings (the toxic liquid waste produced by oil sands mining operations), the approval of the plan is troubling,” Dyer noted, adding, “since it does not appear to be compliant with Directive 074 until eight years from now (2018).”

"It seems like environmental compliance remains flexible in Alberta, which should be a concern to all Albertans and Canadians,” Obad said. “Directive 074 was a meaningful step taken by the government to reduce toxic tailings, and now we have companies negotiating their way through extensions and exceptions of various kinds.”

"Imperial Kearl is a new project that received regulatory approval in 2007. Given how far Imperial is from implementing a plan to address its tailings waste, it raises the question: Why did the ERCB approve such a deficient project in the first place?” Dyer wondered. “The bottom line is, we need to clean up existing tailings lakes at a much faster pace and halt new oil sands approvals until successful tailings reclamation has actually been demonstrated.”

For more information contact:

Joe Obad, Associate Director
Water Matters
Cell: 403-322-3937 | Email: joe [at] water-matters [dot] org

Simon Dyer, Director, Oil Sands Program
The Pembina Institute
Cell: 403-322-3937 | Email: simond [at] pembina [dot] org

Posted August 13, 2010 by AEN

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