ACFN calling on federal government following AER report on Kearl leak

Kearl Lake Discharge -Photo Supplied by ACFN
Kearl Lake Discharge -Photo Supplied by ACFN

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is calling on the federal government following a third-party investigation into the recent Kearl Lake incident.

The report stated the AER followed procedures and responded properly however, ACFN disagrees.

“The AER is not a serious, or internationally respected environmental regulator. It is captured by industry and overseen by a political class that doesn’t care about the consequences to northern and Indigenous residents of Alberta and the Northwest Territories,” said Alan Adam, Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“I can assure you that the government would be acting in a very different way had this incident occurred on the Bow River west of Calgary.”

ACFN is calling upon the federal government to step in and investigate the tailings ponds.

The ACFN is asking the federal government to conduct a full geotechnical audit of tailing facilities in the oil sands as they do not believe the incident to be the only one.

“We do not believe that the Kearl leak was an isolated incident, and we do not believe the AER would inform the public if another incident occurred,” says the ACFN in a press release.

ACFN would also like the federal government to do a health study on the residents of the Peace-Athabasca Delta to investigate long-term health impacts.

In a statement, ACFN is also calling on the government to “respond to the larger tailings and reclamation crisis that is unfolding in our region by empowering a federally-mandated co-management body with effective oversight and enforcement powers to create an additional layer of accountability to remedy the failings of the industry, the AER and the Government of Alberta to responsibly manage oilsands tailings.”

ACFN says it welcomes the discussions with Canada but it is unclear when those may take place.

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