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First Nations ght nancial disclosure act in federal court First Nations defended their right to defy Canadas new - nancial disclosure legislation in court last week calling the law unconstitutional. See page 2. American paddling the Mackenzie basin to bring awareness A U.S. nancial advisor has ditched Wall Street to paddle theentireMackenzieRiversys- teminordertobringawareness to watershed management. See page 14. CANOE DAYS Tsiigehtchic takes to the river for annual celebration. See page 9. Caribou herds still in decline initial survey results show Preliminary results from the spring population count of the Bathurst and Bluenose-East herds shows the caribou are still in decline. See page 11. Dene journalist Dneze Nakehko to run in Nahendeh CKLB Radio broadcaster Dneze Nakehko is the latest to announce his candidacy for MLA in the NWT in the dis- trict of Nahendeh. See page 7. V IS IT W W W .N O R J.C A A national award winning independent newspaper serving northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories since 1977 1.00 August 25 2015 Vol. 39 No. 17 Obed coal spill almost two years later impacts still a mystery to First Nations By MEAGAN WOHLBERG Almost two years after a billion litres of coal slurry flooded the Athabasca River First Nations in the delta say they are no closer to knowing what contaminants were released and what the long-term health impacts could be. Around 670000 cubic metres of coal tailings poured into the Athabasca on the night of Oct. 31 2013 near Hinton and would spend the next month traveling as a massive plume down the river before settling out in Lake Atha- basca and the delta around Fort Chipewyan. Since then the mines owners - originally Sherritt International but now Coal Valley Resources Inc. CVRI - have been required to complete numerous impact re- ports and long-term monitoring plans including the most recent to be published a human health risk assessment. While those plans have been ap- provedbytheprovincialgovernment andAlbertaEnergyRegulatorAER First Nations in Fort Chipewyan say the majority of CVRIs reports monitoring programs for the Athabasca Chipewyan and Miki- sew Cree First Nations in Fort Chipewyan. They dont know and still havent told us what the When it comes to the companys long-term monitoring plan Ma- clean said CVRI has yet to detail what exactly spilled into the river and how much. He said the plan lacks triggers and thresholds that outline when impacts would re- quire management actions and does not include a plan for data analysis. Furthermore there are no plans to monitor water quality in Lake Athabasca or the Slave River where the plume dissipated. It lacks a cohesive study de- sign Maclean said. Theres been piecing together of different scien- tic mediums various things like sh and water and sediment and while not terrible theres no trig- gers or thresholds involved in it. So theres a lot of research being done but with no clear trigger for what needs to happen. I think thats its great failing. See Report on page 3. despite numerous revisions con- tinue to be deeply awed. Its been 22 months almost two years since the spill happened said Bruce Maclean an envi- ronmental consultant who man- ages community environmental actual content of the spill was so youre really blind there and no one mapped the plume. They did in the water but the fate of most of the contaminants was in the sediment load. No one as far as I can see has done that. Statistically increased concentrations of arsenic mercury selenium and uranium in sh that people consume is a human health issue and this is not sufciently or adequately emphasized in their human health report. Bruce Maclean PhotoDaliCarmichael Daniel Pekar gazes at the Big Dipper during the Dark Sky Festival on Aug. 22 in Wood Buffalo National Park. The annual event hosted by the Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society featured a weekend of intergalactic fun. For a story and more photos head to page 8.