For Immediate Release: October 26, 2017
Statement by Environmental Defence’s Dale Marshall on the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) approval of Suncor’s tailings management plan
Ottawa, Ont. – The Alberta Energy Regulator approval of Suncor’s embarrassingly weak tailings management plan increases the risk that Albertans will be on the hook for a multi-billion dollar liability to clean up the mess created by the tar sands industry.
The volume of tailings poisoning the Alberta landscape has already surpassed a trillion litres. The tailings management plan put forward by Suncor and approved by the AER will allow tailings ponds to continue growing for another 20 years, and will result in the use of inadequate solutions for their reclamation. Rather than ensuring that Suncor takes responsibility for its environmental impact, this approval allows the oil giant to simply kick the can down the road and increase the risk that Alberta citizens will be left to pay for the massive cleanup of tailings ponds.
This approval shows that the Alberta government’s updated Tailings Management Framework and regulations will not improve how the toxic legacy of tailings is addressed. The AER is supposed to regulate resource development such that it reduces the risk to Albertans, and yet this approval does the opposite.
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