Alberta premier says changes coming to ensure prompt reporting of oilsands spills

Premier Danielle Smith says slow public notification of Imperial Oil Limited’s oilsands wastewater spills has illuminated the need for Alberta to ensure future alarms are sounded quicker.

Smith says her government is working with the province’s energy regulator to develop better policies to give affected groups timely notification.

Area First Nations and the Northwest Territories government have said they should have been kept in the loop on the spills from Imperial’s Kearl mine tailings ponds.

The N.W.T. has called it a violation of its agreement with Alberta for timely updates on emerging threats to their shared watershed.

The first release was spotted and reported in May as discoloured water near a tailings pond at the Kearl site north of Fort McMurray.

It was found to be tailings seepage.

No further updates were provided to area First Nations until February, when it was disclosed to the public and federal and provincial environment ministers along with news of a second release.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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