The government of Alberta is finalizing a plan to protect an area of land around Fort McKay.
Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, announced on Tuesday they’ve officially completed the Moose Lake Access Management Plan.
The plan, which the Fort McKay First Nation has been advocating for nearly two decades, outlines a 10 km zone where Indigenous peoples can practice their rights and traditional land uses.
“While the Moose Lake 10-kilometre special management zone represents just one percent of the entire Athabasca oil sands area, it represents a very real and tangible connection to a sacred landscape and way of life,” said Mel Grandjamb, Chief of the FMFN.
The zone extends from the boundary of the First Nation’s Gardiner and Namur Lake reserves, which are known locally as the Moose Lake reserves.
Under the plan, a maximum of 15 per cent of the area can be impacted by industrial development at any given time. These projects will only be given the green light if they follow all regulatory requirements which includes a cap on emissions.
Also, energy-related activities within one km of the reserves will be limited to low impact exploration and monitoring only.
“The requirement to locate central processing facilities outside this zone recognizes the negative impacts these facilities would have on Fort McKay’s ability to practice traditional land uses essential to the preservation of Cree and Dene cultures,” added Grandjamb.
The entire Moose Lake plan can be viewed on the GoA’s website.