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EnvironmentOilsands8TuesdayMarch252014RobertAlexieSr.GwichinRobertAlexieSr.wasbornonJune21934intheMackenzieDeltaandlivesinFortMcPherson.RobertsparentsareAbrahamandBellaAlexie.RobertisuentinourGwichinlanguageandlivedonthelandafterheleftresidentialschoolatanearlyage.Robertoftentakesschoolchildrenoutonthelandsotheycanlearnthetraditionalskillsneededtoliveofftheland.TodayRobertisawardeninthelocalAnglicanChurch.NORTHERNVOICESIntheNorthwestTerritoriesournorthernvoicesareimportant.ThroughoutourvastterritorynineofcialAboriginallanguagesarespokenwithpride.Tocelebratethisdiversityregionallanguagecommunitiesnominatedindividualscommittedtocultivatingournorthernvoices.ThesechampionsareleadersinourAboriginallanguagescommunityandwethankthemfortheireffortsandcontributionstothesurvivalofourlanguages.ByJEAN-PHILIPPEMARQUISResidentsforcedfromtheirhomesinthePeaceRiverareamustwaitweeksfortheverdictofthecourtcaseinwhichtheyaredemand-ingBaytexEnergystopitsEvictedfamilieswaitforoilsandscourtdecisionoilsandsoperationsandre-duceitsfumeemissions.AtthetriallastWednesdaythejudgesaidhewillstudytheevidenceandargumentspresentedbybothpartiesandshouldrenderadecisionwithinveorsixweeks.Togetherwithland-rightslawyerKeithWilsoncousinsBrianandAlainLabrecqueandagroupoffamiliesdemandedaninjunctiontotheBaytexbi-tumenextractionintheRenoarealastNovemberwhichtheyallegehascausedhealthproblemstotheirfamiliesandforcedthemtoeetheirhomes.Residentsblamebitumenemissionsfortheirdizzinesslossofbalancenauseahead-achesnosebleedsmemorylossexhaustionandotherssymptoms.WilsonarguedbeforethejudgethatbitumenfumesareresponsibleforthehealthissuessincetheLabrecquesliveinanareathathasahighconcentra-tionofwellswithnootherin-dustriesaround.HestressedthattheLabrecquesarenotopposedtotheoilindustryatrstwel-comingtheextractingcom-paniesuntil2011whentheystartedtofeeltheallegedim-pactsoftheemissionsandwereforcedtoleavethearea.ThelegalcounselforBaytexrespondedthatthefamilieshavestartedtheirliveselsewhereandhavenointentiontoreturntotheirlandeveniftheemissionsarestoppedwhichunderminestheneedforaninjunctionandemergencyresponse.AlainLabrecquesaidhendstheargumentinsulting.Hesaidhispropertyisnotonlyapieceoflandwithamarketvaluebutahomethathasafamilialandhistoricvalue.ItismyfarmIgrewupthere.Istillhaveahouse.Iboughtthelandandworkedhardformyboyandmydaugh-tertogivethemthechancetofarmiftheywantandthatsimportanttome.Mychildrenmightwanttogobackiftheseissuesaredealtwithproperly.Baytexlawyerssaidthereisnoobjectiveevidencethatthefumesareresponsiblefortheharm.Theyaddedthatahalttotheiroperationwouldmeanalossinroyaltiesjobcutsandthatoverallthebalanceofin-conveniencedoesnotfavourtheinjunction.WilsonrespondedthattheRenoeldconsistsofonly3percentoftotalBaytexrevenue.EmissionsescapingfromtanksBitumeninthePeaceRiverarealiesinreservoirs600metresundergroundandiseitherextractedwithpump-jacksbyinjectingsteamtoliquifythebitumenorbycoldheavyoilproductionwithsandCHOPS.ThroughCHOPSthickbitumenisextractedbythesameprincipleofagrainel-evatorusinganaugerandonceatthesurfacemustbeheatedto70to80degreesinRegulationsaretheproblemWilsonBaytexlawyerssaidthecompanyoperateswithinthelawbutWilsonsaidpresentregulationsaretheproblem.HesaidemissionrestrictionswereinitiallydesignedforthemassiveSyncrudetanksinFortMcMurray.ThesePeaceRiverareatanksjustfallunderthethresh-oldbutwhenyouthrow86ofthemaroundsomeoneshousethecumulativeeffectsofthatemissionishugehesaid.PhotosJean-PhilippeMarquisWellsandheatedbitumentanksonaCHOPSbitumenproductionsiteownedbyShellintheThreeCreeksareaaroundPeaceRiver.Land-rightslawyerKeithWilsondebriefsAlainandBrianLabrecqueoutsidethecourthouseafterthetrialagainstBaytexlastWednesday.1000-barrelcapacitytankstoallowthesandtosinkdown.Thebitumenisthentransferredbytrucktothemainplantforfurtherrenement.Bitumentanksequippedwithtoprecoverysystemscapturemostoftheemissionsproducedduringtheheatingprocess.NoteverytankpurchasedbyBay-texin2011wasequippedwiththissystem.InapreparedstatementaboutthecourtcaseBaytexsdirectorofstakeholderrelationsAndrewLoosleysaidtheyhaveunder-goneoperationalimprovementbutwanttodomore.Wearecommittedtotakingstepsinreducingemissionsinallourareasofoperation.Wecontinuetopressforwardwithourplanstoaddressthecon-cernoftheresidentshesaid.Howeverarealandownersobjectionsroadblocksandcontinuedobjectionstoourregulatoryapplicationshavepreventedusfrommakingtheexactimprovementthattheselandownershavebeenaskingfor.TheregulatorynetdoesntcatchwhatBaytexisdoingtheyarefallingintothosegapsandtheyaremakinghugeprof-itsdoingit.WilsonsaidBaytexcanmakethedecisiontostoptheemis-sionsrightnowbuthascho-sentoputprotsoverpeople.Theirownnumbersspeaktoit.Theyclaimontheirownwebsitethattheymakeovera220percentreturnontheRenoeldwherethecompetitorsaremakinga100percentreturn.ThoseareincrediblenumbersbuttheonlywaythatcanbehappeningisifBaytexhasfoundawaytosignicantlycutcostswhichisbynotputtinginpollutioncontrolequipment.Wilsonsaidthecourtcasewouldsetaprecedentforsimi-larcasesinthefuture.Thiscourtcasewillsendthemessagethatifoilcompa-niesarenotrespectfuloftheirneighboursandcausetheneigh-boursharmtheresgoingtobeseriouslegalconsequencesandrightnowitsnotclearthatitsthelawinAlbertahesaid.TheregulatorynetdoesntcatchwhatBay-texisdoingtheyarefallingintothosegapsandtheyaremakinghugeprotsdoingit.KeithWilsonLand-rightslawyer