Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Fort Chip Nations Quit Government "Oilsands Watchdog Group"

First Nation pulls out of oilsands watchdog group
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | 10:46 AM MT
CBC News

The largest First Nations community in the Fort McMurray area has walked away from an organization set up to protect the environment from too much oilsands development.

Government and industry are not taking protection of the environment seriously, said Sherwin Sheh, who speaks for the Mikisew Cree of Fort Chipewyan.

The First Nation is following the lead of the Athabasca Chipewyan and pulling out of the Cumulative Environmental Management Association.

The provincial and federal governments created the CEMA to watch over the oilsands and to find out how many mines and upgrading plants can be allowed before the environment is permanently affected.

CEMA was supposed to answer the question in five years. Despite seven years of studies and meetings, it still hasn't finished its work.

'CEMA is a parking lot'

There was no point in sitting around talking about big environmental issues while oilsands projects are constantly approved by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, Sheh said.

"CEMA is a parking lot where everything, all the major issues, are placed there. Meanwhile, approvals are given."

Staying at the table gave CEMA legitimacy as an organization actually doing something to protect the environment, Sheh said.

He hopes withdrawing from the association will force the government to consult directly with the First Nation on environmental issues.

Sherri-Dawn Annett, who speaks for the province, said Alberta will not stall any new oilsands approvals and is looking for new ways to protect the environment.

"In the meantime, Alberta Environment has an ongoing dialogue with First Nations. We are committed to working with them to address what their issues are and also hearing their ideas for potential solutions," she said.

Annett said Alberta Environment is setting up a new division to watch over new energy projects in the area.

Oilsandstruth.org is not associated with any other web site or organization. Please contact us regarding the use of any materials on this site.

Tar Sands Photo Albums by Project

Discussion Points on a Moratorium

User login


Syndicate content