Fort McKay First Nation

Fort McKay First Nation

April 30, 2013 02:34 ET

Fort McKay Hopeful ERCB Will Support 20 km Environmental Buffer

Buffer would preserve natural richness of large Alberta region

FORT MCKAY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 30, 2013) - At today's conclusion of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) hearing, the community of Fort McKay reiterated its position calling for the establishment of a 20 km buffer from the proposed Dover OPCO from its reserve. The Dover project proposes a five-phase 250,000-barrel-per-day facility using SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) technology. Fort McKay formally stood against the proposed project because Dover would not agree to adjust its project plan to accommodate a buffer to protect traditional territory surrounding Namur and Gardiner lakes, known locally as Moose Lake.

"We recognize the need to balance resource development with environmental protection," says Councillor Raymond Powder who served as a witness during the ERCB hearings. "Without an adequate buffer zone and a land management plan, we will see irreversible negative impacts to land and wilderness which matters to all Albertans."

Over the course of the hearings, Fort McKay presented extensive evidence of how the proposed project would affect the land and traditional way of life around Moose Lake. Fort McKay residents use the area to hunt, trap, collect berries and carry out traditions including use of the area as sacred burial grounds.

"We are not opposed to this project in its entirety and have accommodated many meetings and presented a reasonable compromise to Dover OPCO over the course of many months," says Jim Boucher, Chief of the Fort McKay First Nation. "We remain hopeful an agreement to protect this critical area will be reached."

Fort McKay is literally surrounded by resource projects, which collectively are having a wholesale negative impact on the wildlife, fish and landscape of the region. Without intervention, moose and caribou are likely to be locally extinct within 30 years. The addition of the Dover project without adequate protection will adversely affect the community's quality of life.

"We hope all Albertans will recognize the importance of this issue and stand behind the community of Fort McKay," continues Boucher. "We recognize our province relies on resource development but we must balance this development with careful mindfulness of environmental protection. Eyes of the world are upon Alberta. This decision provides an opportunity for Alberta to show that it understands the sanctity of the environment."

The Energy Resources Conservation Board will deliberate the evidence presented by both Dover OPCO and the community of Fort McKay and has 90 days to deliver a decision.

Contact Information

  • Fort McKay First Nation
    Dayle Hyde
    Communications Director
    780.881.5715 (cell)