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April 29, 2008
Edmonton… The Alberta government is investigating why deterrents were unable to prevent 500 migratory waterfowl from landing on a tailings pond north of Fort McMurray.Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development are on-site at the Aurora North Site mine facility ensuring deterrents are in place to prevent further birds from landing on the tailings pond. Environment Canada will also be investigating. The status of all the birds is unknown, but some are clearly heavily oiled. Recovery and salvage operations are underway.
Under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), Alberta requires that Syncrude have a waterfowl protection plan in place that includes a comprehensive bird deterrent program for all tailings ponds.
If Syncrude did not comply, the Alberta government will take action, with penalties up to $1 million.
Hundreds of thousands of water birds travel through the Fort McMurray oil sands areas. Effective bird deterrence is an important part of the Alberta government’s approval requirements for tailings ponds.
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