The total volume of fluid tailings, a toxic byproduct of Alberta oilsands mining, reached 1.18 trillion litres in 2015. This is the result of 50 years of regulatory and engineering shortcomings. In March 2015, the Government of Alberta released the Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands (TMF) as a game-changing policy shift for tailings management in the province.
All current tailings operators were ordered to submit a Tailings Management Plan (TMP) by November 1, 2016. Noticeably absent are Syncrude Mildred Lake Mine and Teck FrontierMine. Teck and Syncrude are currently seeking approval from the AER under a separate regulatory process which exempts them from submitting plans under D085.
The Oilsands Environmental Coalition – a group of Alberta-based environmental organizations with long-standing interests in oilsands development, reviewed each plan. In accordance with the Responsible Energy Development act, OSEC filed statements of concern for every plan. You can find those statements here.
Photo courtesy National Wildlife Federation