Ottawa requests joint ‘working group’ on oilsands contamination with Alberta

The federal environment minister wants to set up a new group with the Alberta government and Indigenous communities to monitor contamination problems in the oilsands.

Steven Guilbeault proposed the idea to his provincial counterpart, Sonya Savage, in a letter dated March 16, obtained by The Canadian Press.

In it, he said two releases of oilsands tailings from Imperial Oil’s Kearl oilsands mine —  and delays in informing people — have caused Indigenous groups to lose trust.

Guilbeault wants a joint federal-provincial-Indigenous body, with input from industry, to discuss improving tailings pond remediation and containment, as well as spill or seepage notifications.

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Guilbeault’s letter refers to Ottawa’s responsibilities in protecting fish habitat and treaty rights, both of which may have been affected by the Kearl releases.

A response from Savage’s office was not immediately available.

Click to play video: 'Anger grows after Alberta oilsands leak kept from public for months'

Anger grows after Alberta oilsands leak kept from public for months

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