Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Tuesday August 25 2015 3 ENVIRONMENT SPILL CLEANUP Please join the NWT Cree Language Program with Rosalie Bourke and Catherine Boucher for a FREE weekend learning Dnesin Chipewyan and nhiyawwin Cree and about medicinal plants. A Shuttle Service will be available outside Uncle Gabes Friendship Centre each morning between 900AM and 930AM. Please call 867 872-2770 or 872-0174 or email or Facebook us at NWT Cree Language Program for details and further information. or Facebook us at NWT Cree Language Program NWT Cree Language Program Report nds increase in downstream contaminants Continued from page 1. Thosesameconcernscarryoverintothecom- panys recently released human health risk as- sessment.ThoughCVRIpublishedthereportin early2015boththeAlbertagovernmentandFirst Nationssaiditdidnotmeetindustrystandards forqualityandneededchanges.Lastmonththe company published its revised report but ac- cordingtoMacleanthemajorproblemspersist. The human health report is deeply awed Macleansaid.Ithaserrorsithasomissionsand has a serious lack of referencing and citations that make it almost impossible to get through. According to the company no adverse ef- fects are predicted for the scenarios evalu- ated and no residual measurable effects on water or sediment quality exist in Obed area creeks or the Athabasca River. Yet the human health report notes that mer- curyconcentrationsingeneralshowanappar- ent upward trend downstream from the spill beyondlevelsthatwouldbeexpectednaturally. Arsenicuraniumandseleniumalsoshowasta- tisticallysignicantincreasedownstreamofthe spill though all have been found in concentra- tionsbelowlevelsexpectedtoleadtoahazard. The four contaminants were among many to be measured as exceedances in the river at the time of the spill during initial monitor- ing done by Alberta Environment. Despite those observations Maclean said the report does nothing to address how those contaminant loads spread throughout the food web. Rather than studying the sh most likely to be consumed by humans the com- pany chose to sample sh most likely to be exposed to the sediments overlooking the way that contaminants bioaccumulate or increase as you go up the food chain. Statisticallyincreasedconcentrationsofarse- nicmercuryseleniumanduraniuminshthat people consume is a human health issue and thisisnotsufcientlyoradequatelyemphasized in their human health report...Theyve highly highly underemphasized that Maclean said. WhyarenttheylookingatspeciesthatFirst NationsconsumeFishthateatothershwould havemoreofamercurysignalBasicallytheir rationale is that no one used the water as the plume went by which is a fabrication because people were drawing water as it went by be- cause they were the last to know. Same concerns raised in independent review Thisisntthersttimethecompanyhasheard these concerns. The same issues were posed by a group of independent scientists hired by Alberta Environment in early 2014 to review CVRIs plans called the Water Initiative. Those reviews pointed out critical informa- tion missing from CVRIs monitoring plans including the lack of thresholds. Importantly there is no discussion as to what will be done if impacts or exceedances are found and how to distinguish whether these are associated with the Obed release or instead with the natural variability of the sites the scientists wrote. They also raised concerns about the lack of knowledge of what exactly was in the spill. There is no hypothesis about the expected contaminants that were present in the water containment and other ponds in Obed mine nor systematic evaluation of possible contami- nantsthatcanbemobilizedfromthesolidsthat werereleasedbythespilltheywrote.Without these specic criteria it would be impossible to clearly establish links between water quality guideline violations or changes in ecosystem health or function if they occur and the spill. Alberta Environment and Parks was con- tacted for information on the revisions his- tory of the monitoring plans and how the independent reviews were incorporated but did not respond as of press time. Investigation results pending Ofcials with the Alberta Energy Regulator AERsaidtheysubmittedtheinvestigationle on the spill to Alberta Justice and the Solicitor General in March 2015 but were told the re- sults would take time due to the size of the le. Theallegedcontraventionsintheleinclude thereleaseofasubstanceintotheenvironment and failure to follow authorization conditions. AERspokespersonRyanBartlettsaidasum- maryreportwillbereleasedoncetheinvestiga- tioniscompleteandcouldnotgivemoredetails. CurrentlytheinformationtheAERcanpro- vide about an ongoing investigation is limited to protect the legal process and the AERs abil- ity to pursue all enforcement options he said. with those being put forward by the company andcontributetogrowingconcernaboutcountry foodsintheregiondownstreamoftheoilsands. In that region its the death by a thou- sand cuts Maclean said. Even if its a small increase even if it wont harm you the per- ception is that it will so many people in the community have already voluntarily stopped eating sh. This was the nal straw for them. So with a lack of condence in the traditional food you lose the cultural connection as well and thats a rights violation. That was caused by industrial spill and more importantly by the regulator setting the bar too damn low. There is no hypothesis about the expected con- taminants that were pres- ent in the water contain- ment and other ponds in Obed mine nor systematic evaluation of possible con- taminants that can be mo- bilized from the solids that were released by the spill. Alberta Water Initiative PhotocourtesyofSherrittInternationalCVRI A monitoring team employed by the company tests water on the Athabasca River following the Obed mine coal tailings spill in the fall of 2013. Bartlett said the results of the investigation couldbemadeavailableassoonasnextmonth. Dependingontheoutcometherecommenda- tion could be made to charge the company. But for Maclean and the First Nations two years is a long time to wait for basic answers especially for communities along the river that use the water daily. He and his team continue to wait for the results of the investigation to determine their next steps moving forward which could include legal action against the company andor government. As it stands the First Nations argue the spill hasconstitutedatreatyrightsviolation.Having conductedtheirownmonitoringworksincethe spilloccurredMacleansaidtheirresultsconict