Sunday , 1 August 2021

Cold Lake Council advocates for Imperial Oil

“We’ve written to the Energy Minister, before, we’ve written to the Indigenous Affairs Minister,” and now the City of Cold Lake Mayor & Council are going to write to the Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, to give some attention to Imperial Oil’s stalled Aspen expansion project, says Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland.

“She’s talking about pipelines with Burnaby and the Premier of BC and blocking the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” Copeland says there’s attention at home needed, as well, “we want to make sure the Premier is aware that there’s a major approval project, right here in our backyard, that Imperial’s filed approval on a couple years ago.”

The mayor says he’s not completely sure what the hold up is on the projects approval and recalls many years ago during the last Imperial Oil expansion there was not nearly as long of a wait on approval.

We have to look at our own process, in Alberta, and make it more user friendly, because investment is leaving our province and our country. We need to start circling back and showing the local resource companies that we want them here. – Craig Copeland, Mayor of the City of Cold Lake.

In Tuesday’s City Council package information was given on the project showing that an Environmental Impact Assessment was completed, within the appropriate timelines.  Following the study, there were 20 Statements of Concerns (SOC) that were attached to the file, 17 of the 20 remain “and that the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is not in receipt of a Letter of Adequacy from the Alberta Consultation Office for the project.”

“We want to shed a light on the project with the Premier. We need to speed up these approval processes, they are painful,” explains the mayor. The Aspen project is expected to produce 50,000 barrels of oil a day, with a lifespan of 30 years and create hundreds of new jobs.

It is estimated the 300-500 people per day will be needed during the construction phase of the project and another 100 full-time positions will be created once the facility is operational.

In late February, Mayor Copeland heard from the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Richard Freehan, at the time he stated that consultation on the project had been ongoing sine June 20, 2015. Nearly three years later and the Minister states that consultations are in the “late stages”.

“We need the Aboriginal Consultation Office to make a ruling on the Imperial Oil project that will allow the Energy Regulator to make a decision if the application meets their approval. From there, hopefully it’s a positive in both cases. Then it’s up to Imperial Oil to find the financing for the project,” Mayor Copeland is pushing for a quick resolve to the lengthy application process.

“We’re talking about a company that’s been producing over 160,000 barrels of oil, here, a day. They’ve been in the area since the 70’s, the technology [is much more advanced] and water is being used even less on this new oil extraction.

Imperial Oil is a great neighbour and a great steward of the environment. – Craig Copeland, Mayor of the City of Cold Lake

“Let’s get this done now, not six months or a year from now. This is long enough for the bureaucrats to look at the file and make a decision,” Mayor & Council will send out a letter to Premier Notley expressing their concerns and are hopeful that will speed the process along.

About Jena Colbourne