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Syncrude Requests More Time To Review Legal Material In Bird Death Charges

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Syncrude Requests More Time To Review Legal Material In Bird Death Charges

Syncrude has asked their case involving the deaths of 31 great blue herons be adjourned to November.

In August 2015, the Alberta Energy Regular received reports of the heron deaths in a sump at its Mildred Lake Oilsands Operation.

On Wednesday, Syncrude made their first court appearance but did not enter a plea, citing more time to review the charges.

According to Syncrude Spokesperson, Alain Moore, the company enhanced their waterfowl protection systems, after the deaths of a large number of ducks in 2008.

He tells Mix News these preventative measure are in place in order to prevent these kinds of incidents.

“We have the radar systems that we use at our facilities, similar to ideas we’ve borrowed from the aviation industry. As well, we have noise cannons deployed year-round to help prevent wildlife from coming into our operations.”

The 2015 incident resulted in AER charging Syncrude with one count under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for failing to store a hazardous substance in a manner ensuring it does not come into direct contact with, or contaminate animals.

Shortly after the incident, AER issued an environmental protection order to Syncrude, which included developing a wildlife mitigation plan and detailed delineation and remediation plan as well as developing daily public reports and publishing them to the Syncrude Canada website.

Moore says the adjournment gives them more time to review the legal material as they proceed with process.

“A lot of investigative matters have a lot of material for our legal team to review and of course they are going to take their time to do so and make it a thorough process so that we can proceed with the court proceedings, as appropriate.”

Syncrude could face up to $500,000 in charges if convicted.

They’ll make another court appearance on November 1.

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