Flawed environmental assessment is illegal, groups say
CALGARY, AB — Today, on the first day of the Total E&P Joslyn North Mine hearing in Fort McMurray, lawyers for the Oilsands Environmental Coalition (OSEC) filed a motion arguing the hearing, which will determine whether the project goes ahead, be adjourned based on Total's deficient environmental impact assessment.
Canadian law requires a cumulative impacts assessment to determine what the impacts of the project are when combined with other existing and planned development. Total's assessment, however, does not meet these requirements.
Total acknowledges it did not include an assessment of forest fires or future forest harvest after 2016 in its assessment. The assessment also ignores some planned oilsands mines — effectively ignoring tens of thousands of hectares of disturbance.
"Total's application should be thrown out," says Simon Dyer, oil sands program director for the Pembina Institute. "Total has prepared a cumulative impacts assessment that does not consider cumulative impacts. There is not enough information available to the Panel for them to proceed with a fair and responsible assessment of the proposed project."
The Oilsands Environmental Coalition includes the Pembina Institute, the Toxics Watch Society of Alberta and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association. The Total Joslyn North Mine Project, if approved, will result in 1.5-million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution each year (equivalent to putting over 270,000 cars on the road), and destroy thousands of hectares of land.
Simon Dyer, Oilsands Program Director
The Pembina Institute
Available for comment until 1 p.m. MST
Richard Secord, Counsel to the Oilsands Environmental Coalition