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Leak at the mine Kearl: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation takes case to court

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The spill of a mixture of 5.3 million liters of water and toxic chemicals was discovered in May 2022, but it was not made public until March 2023. (File photo)< /p>

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The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is taking legal action against the Alberta Energy Regulatory Agency (AER) for, among other things, waiting nine months to notify riverside communities of a series of spills worth millions liters of water and oil occurred at Imperial Oil's Kearl tar sands mine.

In a press release released Tuesday, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation accuses the provincial energy regulator of being faulty and negligent in handling the uncontrolled toxic spill, which it says took place between May 2022 and February 2023.

She alleges that the agency knew about the spills, but preferred to turn a blind eye and let the Kearl project continue, despite its mission , as First Nation Chief Allan Adam recalls, is to regulate the energy sector to ensure safety and environmental responsibility.

The AER has failed miserably in its mission in this regard.

A quote from Allan Adam, Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

This The latter adds that the agency also neglected the constitutional rights of its community, which should have been consulted.

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Therefore, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is turning to the Alberta Court of King's Bench to hold the AER and the province accountable for their unconstitutional, negligent and reckless actions and decisions.

You're not going to come in here and talk to all these people and tell them how you're going to fix the problem. We will go to court. There is no longer any question of this dirty business continuing on our traditional territories, because we have had enough.

A quote from Allan Adam, Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

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Chief Allan Adam filed a complaint against the Alberta Energy Regulatory Agency (AER) on Tuesday.

Allan Adam served notice of the lawsuit to the executive director of the provincial regulatory body, Laurie Pushor, who was present at the meeting organized by communities to raise their concerns about the Kearl mine leak on Tuesday.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is all the more angry against the AER that&#x27 ;she believes the spills have had a significant impact on resources such as groundwater, to the point where communities would live in fear of potential contamination.

Imperial had, however, affirmed that the spills had not damaged waterways or wildlife in the area.

During At a meeting organized Tuesday by the region's communities, some members felt that, because of its lack of diligence in this matter, the AER had broken the last bond of trust that existed between the public and it.

Kendrick Cardinal, president of the Fort Chipewyan Métis Nation, agrees. He hopes, however, that the AER will hold the tar sands industry accountable.

The spill of a mixture of 5.3 million liters of water and toxic chemicals was discovered in May 2022, but it was not made public until March 2023.

According to the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, three major leaks occurred between May 2022 and November 2023.

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