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In the meeting, Minister Savage informed Minister Guilbeault that Alberta Environment has sent officials to the Kearl site to conduct independent water sampling, which complements but does not replace extensive monitoring in place by the Alberta Energy Regulator and Imperial Oil. Alberta Environment has also completed water monitoring at Lake Athabasca and continues to monitor river locations downstream of the Kearl site. The Oil Sands Monitoring Program is also enhancing its regular tributary monitoring programs.
Minister Savage informed Minister Guilbeault that as of March 14, the Alberta government has not seen any evidence of waterway, waterbody or drinking water contamination as a result of the incidents under investigation but will continue with testing and monitoring and will share results with Minister Guilbeault as they become available. Minister Guilbeault agreed to reciprocate by sharing any federal testing results with the province.
Minister Savage and Minister Guilbeault reiterated a dual commitment to review information exchange processes and committed to maintaining open communication channels with Indigenous communities in the area with updates on water sampling and other monitoring results.
The ministers also discussed accelerating collaboration on a long-term solution for the treatment and remediation of tailings ponds and will work to establish a federal-provincial working group to ensure this is developed as quickly as possible.
More details will be released on the makeup and objectives of this working group in the weeks ahead.