Province, Fort McKay First Nation and industry respond to air quality concerns
The Government of Alberta, Fort McKay First Nation and industry partners are taking action on a new report that addresses longstanding air quality and odour concerns in Fort McKay.
In response to recurring complaints from Fort McKay residents, the Alberta Energy Regulator and Alberta Health worked closely with the community and industry to study air quality and odours in the region.
“The release of this report is a key first step in responding to Fort McKay’s long-standing concerns about air quality and odours. Thanks to the efforts of many partners, including Fort McKay First Nation, we have a better understanding of the community’s concerns, and what works needs to be done to address them.”
The report, which included significant stakeholder participation, examined:
- complaint and investigation history in the region related to air quality and odours,
- industry performance monitoring data and regulatory requirements,
- ambient air quality monitoring data, and
- air quality and odour thresholds.
All partners will be working together to address the report’s 17 recommendations, including implementing better air quality monitoring, gaining a better understanding of emission sources, and further investigating the potential long-term health impacts of emissions.
“Fort McKay is a strong advocate for responsible and sustainable development which includes the protection of air and watersheds. Poor air quality and odours have been a chronic issue that community members have reported for years with little response from Industry and government until now. Fort McKay expects that through the commitment to and implementation of these 17 recommendations, poor air quality and odour events will become an exception and not the norm of our daily experiences.”
“Over the past year and a half, the AER worked closely with Alberta Health, Fort McKay First Nation, the oil sands industry, Alberta Environment and Parks and Environment and Climate Change Canada to integrate and analyze over one million data points for this assessment. This report marks an important step forward to help address the concerns of the Fort McKay community and industry, but it’s only the beginning. The AER looks forward to establishing a task force to continue to work with our partners to ensure the recommendations are implemented.”
“CAPP and its oil sands members operating close to Fort McKay have been working jointly with all partners during this assessment and are fully committed to supporting the implementation of all recommendations. Our goal is continuous improvement in the areas of health, safety, social responsibility and the environment – and we plan to do just that.”
The report makes 17 recommendations, including:
- improving consistency in industrial and ambient air quality monitoring,
- assessing the long-term and cumulative health effects of emissions,
- developing a better understanding of the link between industry emissions and air quality and odours in Fort McKay, and
- improving response and communication protocols for odour complaints between the AER, Health Canada, Alberta Health Services, industry and the community of Fort McKay.
Government, the AER, Fort McKay First Nation, industry and other partners will continue working together to address these recommendations.