The future of a proposed mega oilsands project will be up for discussion in Fort McMurray.
A public hearing to determine the environmental effects of Teck’s $20 billion Frontier Oilsands project is scheduled to start on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. at MacDonald Island Park.
The project, which would be located 110km north of Fort McMurray, would produce up to 260,000 barrels of oil per day for roughly 41 years. Frontier would also add around 7,000 jobs through construction and another 2,500 in their operations.
The hearing is expected to take around five weeks to complete.
The joint panel is also scheduled to travel to Fort Chipewyan in mid-October so Indigenous groups, such as the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, can participate.
Concerns from Indigenous Groups
Issues over the proposed project have been brought forward by multiple First Nations.
These concerns focused on the environment, impact on traditional territory, and the damage the current scope could have on different animal populations.
Earlier this month, Teck and the ACFN signed an agreement to protect their Treaty rights.
The agreement requires Teck to implement measures to protect the habitat of Wood Bison and Woodland Caribou while also restricting water withdrawals from the Athabasca River during low-flow periods.
“We believe that we have an agreement that respects our Treaty rights and uses innovative approaches to mitigate the impacts on our land, waters and wildlife,” said Chief Allan Adam, in a release.
The Mikisew Cree First Nation has yet to reach an agreement with Teck.
The big concern they want to see be addressed is the use of the Athabasca River to help extract bitumen.
The MCFN believe current oil projects, and the Site C dam along the Peach River in British Columbia, are drying up the Peace Athabasca Delta, which is one of the biggest freshwater supplies across the globe.
Union Watching Very Closely
Building Trades of Alberta is throwing its support behind Teck Resources’ Frontier project.
The union represents thousands of workers in the region, many in the oil sector.
Executive Director Terry Parker tells Mix News a project like this not only helps their members but the entire region and province.
“It’s a positive and that’s what we’re pushing for.”
He says the project will do wonders for the economy.
“Our members, when they’re working, are putting money back into the local economy, they’re spending money at the restaurants, stores – it’s all coming back in.”
Parker adds he’ll be watching the Joint Review panel hearing.