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City, M.D., and four Metis and Indigenous communities approved by AER for pre-hearing on Cold Lake Expansion project

A date has been set for the pre-hearing to Elizabeth Metis Settlement’s appeal to the Alberta Energy Regulator on Imperial Oil’s Cold Lake Expansion project.

On May 24, a pre-hearing with all parties that requested to participate is scheduled to determine things like scoping, logistics, and planning, said James Mottershead, External Communications for the Alberta Energy Regulator in an email Monday.

The applications for the M.D. of Bonnyville and City of Cold Lake were approved by the AER for the pre-hearing.

Kehewin Cree Nation, Fishing Lake Métis Settlement, Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation, and Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement, also successfully applied to the pre-hearing.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland said they hope to support Imperial Oil in these hearings.

“This is a pretty serious matter for our area that we got. We have to stop the silliness because it’s killing the economy up here. We got to get Imperial Oil expanding and the other oil companies expanding. We gotta get pipelines in the ground,” said Copeland.

“We have businesses and people walking away from their homes and businesses right now. This is serious times.”

Reeve Greg Sawchuk said he believes the M.D. should be approved because Imperial Oil’s operations are largely done in the municipality.

“It’s great that we’ve gotten that far, so I’ll be going down to Edmonton for that pre-hearing with the hopes that we will be invited back to the hearing. I think as a municipality that houses the entirety of Imperial’s operations, that we should be included in that hearing,” said Sawchuk.

Elizabeth Metis Settlement said in a statement last month that their appeal last September to AER on the proposed $2-billion project was part of a larger dialogue surrounding reconciliation.

They claim Imperial Oil did not complete a project-specific traditional land use and impact study, or an in-depth historical assessment on the former colony lands.

Imperial Oil said Elizabeth Metis did provide any facts to support the reasons for requesting regulatory appeals and they are without merit.

The Cold Lake Expansion project was approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator in 2018 after two years of consultations and review.

The project would allow for 55,000 barrels more a day of production.

The hearing panel has not yet determined who may participate in this hearing.