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Appeal to AER on Cold Lake Expansion Project “a larger dialogue of reconciliation” says Elizabeth Metis

Elizabeth Metis Settlement has made a statement about their regulatory appeal to the Alberta Energy Regulator board on the Cold Lake Expansion Project.

In their appeal last September, Elizabeth Metis Settlement said that Imperial Oil erred and did not complete a project-specific traditional land use and impact study, or an in-depth historical assessment on the former colony lands.

“Elizabeth Metis Settlement, like other communities, participates in Alberta’s economy; generally speaking, what is good for the region is good for Elizabeth Metis Settlement.

“That said, as an Indigenous community, we have an additional responsibility to our members to ensure that their Constitutional Section 35 rights are not being adversely impacted, by proposed developments. The ability to hunt, fish, trap, and gather medicines and plants both on and off Settlement is central to our culture and the health and livelihood of our people.

“Further, the protection of our historical sites and areas (including the area proposed Imperial Oil Expansion project) is a critical component to reconciling the sometimes difficult history between the Crown and Metis people. The concerns that Elizabeth Metis Settlement has raised with respect to the Imperial Oil Expansion project are part of a larger dialogue of reconciliation and includes consideration for the needs of all our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”

Last week, the City and M.D. both applied to be at the appeal meeting, which has not been given a date.

The purpose of the hearing will be to determine whether AER should uphold, change, or dismiss the Elizabeth Metis Settlement’s appeals.

The $2-billion expansion project, 23 kilometres outside of Cold Lake, would allow for 55,000 barrels a day of production.

Although, since the project was given the green light last year, Imperial Oil showed interest in phasing the project and filed for amendments to the deal.

Imperial’s legal counsel responded to Elizabeth Metis’ claims to the AER last September and said these appeals should be dismissed.

They say 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 stuck in regulatory limbo for two years until it was approved by the AER in August 2018.

Elizabeth Metis Settlement filed their appeal a month later and was approved in December.