ESAA Weekly News – Week ending January 22nd, 2021

This issue sponsored by: THINK Envirotechnical Services

ESAA is Requesting Photos of Members at Work

ESAA is looking for a few photos of ESAA Members working in the field for inclusion on the main page of our new website. If you have a hi-res image of staff working in the field, with minimal visible logos, please email Joe at the ESAA Office. ESAA will be choosing a few and rotating the image on the main page month.

Alberta Environment and Parks – Updated RSC Form and RAP Guide

Alberta Environment and Parks has released an updated Record of Site Condition form and Remedial Action Plan Guide. The form and guide are available here:

https://www.alberta.ca/part-two-assessment-and-reporting.aspx

As of May 1, 2008, all Phase 2 ESA reports that are submitted to AEP must include a Record of Site Condition form. If the facility is regulated by the AER, users must continue to use the AER version of the form. Additional information about the AER form may be found on the AER website.

The AEP form was updated in order to improve data management and risk assessment of contaminated sites, and to streamline the way end users fill out and submit the form.

Changes made to the Record of Site Condition form include:
–          Form is now a .pdf rather than a Word document
–          Form allows reports to be attached directly in the form
–          Users can create a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) inside the form to submit along with their RSC form

Changes made to the Remedial Action Plan Guide include:
–          Guide contains guidance on how to fill out the RAP part of the RSC Form
–          Items specific to the RSC form and not the RAP have been removed

Information on RSC form usage and user training/guidance will be released in 2021.

Questions about the RSC form and RAP guide can be set to: Land.Management@gov.ab.ca

AER: Updated Alberta Environment and Parks Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions

On January 8, 2021, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) updated the Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions (MSSC). The MSSC covers all land disposition applications under the Public Lands Act, including for energy resource activities.

The updates clarified and streamlined the application process for public lands only by reducing redundancies and updating the language to reflect today’s energy sector. These updates did not lessen public safety or environmental and wildlife protections.

One area of confusion in the previous version of the MSSC was around wildlife sweeps. The updated MSSC requires a new wildlife sweep protocol be followed.

We have already made the necessary changes to land disposition applications in OneStop.

For questions about how the updated MSSC affects AER applications, please contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403-297-8311 (1-855-297-8311) or by email at inquiries@aer.ca.

Alberta’s top court tells environmental appeals board to expand public hearings

(Source: CBC News) Alberta’s highest court has told the province’s Environmental Appeals Board that it should have listened to wider public concerns before allowing an energy services company to dispose of radioactive waste in a landfill.

The Court of Appeal of Alberta decision could force the province to consult more broadly and relax rules that critics say restrict who can speak at public hearings, said a lawyer who argued the case.

“The court’s message is clear and strong,” said Shaun Fluker of the University of Calgary’s Public Interest Law Clinic.

“There is a role for public engagement and public participation in the decision-making that takes place.”

Fluker was representing a British Columbia-based company called Normtek Radiation Services. In 2016, Normtek filed an objection with Alberta’s Environmental Appeals Board over a proposal by Secure Energy Services of Calgary to accept radioactive oilfield waste at its site west of Edmonton.

The arm’s-length board deals with appeals to decisions made under the province’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

Normtek offers radioactive decontamination as one of its services and presented a long list of concerns. It said Secure’s proposal didn’t measure radioactivity adequately and failed to track radiation exposure for workers and groundwater.
It said Secure would accept oilfield waste that was significantly more radioactive than any other landfill in Canada.

Normtek also suggested Secure’s permit application was being considered despite Alberta having no regulations for disposal of that type of waste.

Secure disputed the claims in documents filed with the appeals board.

The board never considered any of Normtek’s concerns. It ruled that because the company was based in B.C., it didn’t meet the test of being directly affected by Secure’s plans. Normtek was considered to have no standing.

The Appeal Court called that restrictive, artificial and unreasonable.

“The board misinterpreted the law,” said the Dec. 11 judgment.

“The law is simply that standing is a preliminary matter to be dealt with, if it can be, at the outset of the proceeding. Sometimes it cannot be.”

Fluker said the court struck down a standard that the Environmental Appeals Board and the Alberta Energy Regulator have been using for years.

“This is a long-standing and widespread issue,” he said.

Fluker notes the appeals board used the question of standing to dismiss 200 statements of concern filed over an application to sell water from the Rocky Mountains. And the energy regulator has cancelled public hearings on energy projects after none of the interveners met the standing test.

Gilbert Van Nes, the board’s general counsel, said the body will reconvene to consider whether Normtek should have standing. If Normtek is successful, the board will consider its concerns in a hearing that could affirm, change or revoke Secure’s permit.

“The Court of Appeal’s decision has suggested that we need to be broader in looking at the types of interest that can create standing,” said Van Nes, who added the board hears about 100 cases a year.

Secure has been operating under its permit since 2016. Van Nes said it comes up for renewal in March.

An Alberta Environment spokeswoman said the department is reviewing the ruling.

Canada launches ClimateWest hub to support climate-change adaptation in the Prairies 

Canadians across the country are seeing an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change. These weather events are hitting harder and more often than ever before, and Canadians must be prepared for their impacts.

That’s why today, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Terry Duguid, announced federal funding of $1.95 million over three years for the launch of ClimateWest, a new non-profit regional hub for climate services for the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Based in Winnipeg, ClimateWest will provide tailored and easily accessible regional climate information, data, tools, and training to ensure communities, businesses, and governments become more resilient in the face of a changing climate.

Driven by the unique needs of those who live and work in the Prairie provinces, ClimateWest will support several different areas, including the agriculture industry, rural and Indigenous communities, businesses, and all levels of government. Knowledge sharing and data mobilization through ClimateWest will make accessing the leading climate science easier as Canadians work together to build climate resilience in the Prairies and across the country.

Information from ClimateWest can support adaptation efforts like the following:
Municipal engineers taking climate adaptation into account in infrastructure standards, like culvert size and storm-water design to reduce flooding impacts
Watershed associations planning as they consider increased risk of flood and drought
Remote and northern communities assessing their food security due to climate change impacts on transportation and wildlife habitat.

Using these tools to understand the potential impacts of climate change will help communities build resilience to climate change, which will contribute to job creation, increased social equity, and improved health in the Prairies. 

BC acquires land for 16 provincial parks, two protected areas

As more people are experiencing the benefits of outdoor recreation than ever before, there will be more opportunities to get outside through a proposed expansion to B.C.’s park system.

To protect ecologically sensitive areas and enhance outdoor recreation, the Province has acquired more than 650 hectares of land intended to be added to 16 provincial parks and two protected areas.

“Our parks and protected areas are among the natural treasures of our province and play an important role in our overall health and well-being, especially during COVID-19,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These areas also provide critical habitat to a number of species. Acquiring additional land means more species and ecosystems will be protected and the land will be here for generations to come.”

Through the acquisition of private land and partnerships with conservation groups and individual donors, the Province regularly adds land to the parks and protected areas system, which is one of the largest park systems in the world. The newly acquired land is valued at more than $9.7 million.

When the Province acquires new land, there are several steps before it can become a park or protected area. This includes engagement with Indigenous nations, consultation with local government, defining a legal boundary and legal designation.
British Columbia has 1,035 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. During the last three years, 883 hectares of land have been acquired for parks and protected areas.

Learn More:
To view the 2019-20 land acquisition report, visit: http://bcparks.ca/partnerships/landAcquisition.html

Ammonia-Nitrogen Spill results in $500,000 fine for Quebec Intermunicipal Board

(Source: HazMat Magazine) The Régie intermunicipale du centre de valorisation des matières résiduelles du Haut-Saint-François et de Sherbrooke, also known as Valoris, recently pleaded guilty in the Sherbrooke, Quebec courthouse to one count of contravening subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act, which prohibits the discharge of a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish.

The guilty plea was the result of investigation by officers of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Between March 13, 2014, and October 12, 2016, Valoris released effluent containing ammonia nitrogen, which is lethal to rainbow trout, from its leachate-treatment system at its sanitary landfill site and from its composting platform, into the Bégin stream, a tributary to the Saint-François River.

Valoris was fined $500,000, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.  In addition to the fine, the court ordered Valoris to take action to ensure its water-treatment system is closely monitored.

Environment and Climate Change Canada administers the Environmental Damages Fund, which is a Government of Canada program that was created in 1995. The Fund follows the polluter pays principle and ensures that court-awarded penalties are used for projects that will benefit the environment.

Midas Gold Reaches Agreement to Begin Environmental Restoration at Abandoned Mine Site in Idaho

(Source: HazMat Magazine) Midas Gold Corp., presently headquartered in British Columbia, recently announced, following three years of extensive discussions, that U.S. federal agencies have authorized and directed the Company to perform agree-upon clean up actions to address contaminated legacy conditions within Idaho’s abandoned Stibnite mining district that are negatively impacting water quality.

While Midas Gold did not cause the legacy environmental problems at Stibnite, the recently signed agreement points to the need for timely environmental action. The Agreement between the company the the U.S. government allows the Company to voluntarily address environmental conditions at the abandoned mine site without inheriting the liability of the conditions left behind by past operators.

Should the Stibnite Gold Project move forward with proposed mining and restoration activities, the Agreement will also allow for comprehensive site cleanup by directing the Company to address legacy features including millions of tons of legacy mine tailings that fall outside of the Project footprint and would otherwise not be addressed.

With the Agreement in place, Midas Gold is now moving forward with plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from British Columbia, Canada to Boise, Idaho and intends to redomicile the Company to the United States.

Agreement Reached to Address Legacy Water Quality

Through an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (“ASAOC” or the “Agreement”) signed on January 15, 2021 by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and U.S. Forest Service, with concurrence by the U.S. Department of Justice, Midas Gold has been instructed to clean up certain contaminated conditions within the Stibnite mining district in Idaho. The sources of contamination to be addressed by the Agreement are decades old and largely stem from tungsten and antimony mining during World War II and the Korean War, long before Midas Gold started planning for redevelopment of the site.

The cleanup Agreement was entered into under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and is the result of almost three years of discussion with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The U.S. EPA also lead discussions with U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Forest Service, State of Idaho, and two Idaho tribes.  Before finalizing the agreement, the EPA also conducted government-to-government consultation with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Nez Perce Tribe.

“For decades, ground and surface water at Stibnite have suffered from elevated levels of arsenic and antimony,” said Laurel Sayer, CEO of Midas Gold Corp. and Midas Gold Idaho. “Yet, because the problems stem from historic mining activity, there are no responsible parties left to address the issues at hand. While we did not cause the problems impacting water quality today, we have always been clear on our intentions to be a part of the solution. We know redevelopment of the Stibnite Mining District for mining activity must include restoration of legacy features. So, when we saw the need to address sources of water contamination more quickly at Stibnite, we knew we had to offer our help.”

Stibnite provided the U.S. with key minerals to support the war effort during World War II and the Korean War. This picture shows a miner working at site in 1943.

Importantly, the Agreement does not change the permitting process or anticipated permitting schedule for the Stibnite Gold Project through the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), nor does it alter any potential CERCLA liability or CERLCA defenses for Midas Gold or federal entities should the Stibnite Gold Project be fully permitted and move into operations. The Agreement only allows for specified EPA directed cleanup actions to occur.

“Today’s agreement develops a clear pathway for comprehensive cleanup activity at a long abandoned mine site and marks an important opportunity for meaningful water quality improvement at Stibnite,” said John C. Cruden, outside counsel for Midas Gold and former Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice in President Obama’s Administration.

The Agreement comes with a determination by federal regulators that due to historical activity, site conditions presently constitute an “actual or threatened release of hazardous substances” and that time critical removal actions are necessary to protect human health and welfare and the environment. In order to provide investment and cleanup the legacy environmental hazards and waste left behind at Stibnite, Midas Gold reached an agreement with federal agencies under CERCLA to define the cleanup work the Company will conduct and to clarify how to protect the Company from inheriting the environmental liability of past actors who abandoned the site. This situation is not unique to Midas Gold but one that has stalled cleanup work at abandoned mine sites across the country. This Agreement may well provide an example for cleaning up abandoned mining sites elsewhere in the nation.

“Water quality in the Stibnite Mining District has been a known problem for decades. As the closest community to the site, I can tell you that cleanup is long overdue,” said Willie Sullivan, Yellow Pine Resident and board member of the Yellow Pine Water Users Association. “This agreement between the EPA and Midas Gold is the first meaningful step toward real improvements in water quality conditions for the East Fork South Fork Salmon River and downstream communities like Yellow Pine. We have seen Midas Gold’s commitment to doing business the right way and their willingness to help with clean up now tells me they are the right partner for this effort.”

Clean-up Phases

The ASAOC consists of three primary phases. The first phase of the Agreement is designed to significantly improve water quality over the next four years. It includes several CERCLA “time critical removal actions” consisting of water diversion projects designed to move water so it may avoid contaminated areas of the site, and removal of over at least 325,000 tons of historical mine waste from problematic locations that are currently affecting water quality. In addition, Midas Gold has agreed to conduct a full biological assessment, Clean Water Act evaluation, and a cultural resource survey.  To ensure all that important work will be done, Midas Gold is providing US$7.5 million in financial assurance for Phase 1 projects.

Phases 2 and 3 of the ASAOC would move forward if the Stibnite Gold Project receives permission to proceed with mining under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and would provide the opportunity for comprehensive and site-wide cleanup of legacy features and waste by including permission to address legacy areas that are not included in the restoration activities proposed by the Stibnite Gold Project.

To read more on this Agreement additional information may be found here:  www.MidasGoldIdaho.com/news/asaoc/
SOURCE: Midas Gold

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Cutting Edge Technologies for Optimizing Oil and Gas Asset Retirement

Showcase your organization’s best practices or technologies for efficient retirement of oil and gas assets!

Successful applicants will be given a segment in an hour-long video seminar to showcase how their organization, product, approach, technology, or digital application results in improved outcomes in the environmental management of legacy oil and gas assets. Participation is free! For more information, instructions on how to apply and evaluation metrics, please see below.

BACKGROUND

While estimates vary, the number of oil and gas wellsites and associated facilities in the western Canadian provinces that require reclamation is between 150,000 and 200,000. The importance of decommissioning and regulatory closure of these sites has recently been highlighted by industry and both federal and provincial governments. Drivers to complete this work include reduction of financial liability, ecological restoration and return of land to productive use (or reuse).

Enabling operational efficiencies in asset retirement has been identified as a key area of opportunity for the energy, environmental and clean technology industries. Implementing best practices that also contribute to greater sustainability in the work conducted, and leveraging leading edge technologies, have been shown to drive these operational efficiencies, and an online seminar is being developed to showcase leading edge approaches and technologies. Seminar development is being led by InnoTech Alberta in collaboration with Acden Vertex and other key industry stakeholders. Development is being funded with Federal financial support and is therefore free for both contributors and participants.

SEMINAR DESCRIPTION

The online seminar of approximately 60 minutes will focus on environmental management of legacy oil and gas wellsites and associated facilities (i.e., post-well abandonment). The seminar will be technical in nature, targeted to:
service providers in the environmental and energy industries; industry and government representatives;  students; and  technology developers.

The objectives of the seminar are to:

  • Share successful strategies and best practices for reducing costs and speeding timelines, thus accelerating the retirement and reclamation of legacy assets.
    Outline approaches used to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of field activities.
  • Showcase western Canadian businesses providing niche or leading-edge services.
  • Showcase efforts on the part of western Canadian businesses to develop, commercialize and adopt clean tech for addressing a high priority challenge for the energy industry.

The seminar will include a mix of background information, interviews and video demonstrations of technologies or applications. It will be professionally produced and will be promoted through various channels; thus, there is potential for distribution to jurisdictions beyond western Canada, many of whom are grappling with similar asset retirement challenges. The seminar will be available through applicable industry organization websites.

APPLICATION FORM AND INSTRUCTIONS

Please submit this form by email to simone.levy@innotechalberta.ca no later than close of business on February 3rd, 2021. Questions may be directed to the same email address.

Applicants will be informed of the acceptance of their application by February 10, 2021. To meet project deadlines, any filming or interviews conducted specifically for the seminar will need to be completed by February 26th, 2021. This timeline should be a consideration for potential applicants.

Application Form: https://innotechalberta.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Asset-Retirement-Online-Seminar_Industry-Application.docx

Upcoming Events

New ESAA Webinar

Mental Wellness and Coping During COVID

11am – 12pm
February 2nd, 2021

Register Now

Through the Webinar: “Mental Wellness and Coping During COVID” we will explore the concepts of mental health, mental illness, and the mental health continuum – to build the foundational knowledge to support more effective and meaningful understanding and application of strategies that support mental wellness. Then, we will discuss the strategies that can be used to identify and manage stress and negative emotions and promote mental wellness throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond.

Presenter:
Aaron Telnes, M.C., R. Psych.
Aaron is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists and a member of the Psychologists Association of Alberta and works with clients through Synthesis Psychology and Calgary Career Counselling. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Counselling degree from the University of Calgary. Aaron strives to promote mental health and wellness in his individual and organizational clients through a focus on increasing self-awareness, developing coping skills, strategic problem-solving, and identifying and implementing attainable goals. My therapeutic style blends cognitive-behavioural, solution-focused, and mindfulness-based strategies that I integrate into both my individual client sessions and the work I do with organizations.

Registration is free! 

Register Now

Eco Impact 2021:

Connecting Canada’s Environmental leaders
People, Planet, Profit – Finding the Balance

8:00 am – 4:30 pm
January 28th, 2021

Register Now

ECO Impact 2021 gives you the chance to connect with Canada’s top environmental leaders. We know Zoom fatigue is real, but we promise this is not your average virtual event!

On Jan 28 ECO Canada is hosting a full day of learning and networking with 25 leading industry speakers and panelists over 8 technical sessions including:

  • Canada’s Energy Transition
  • Climate Change Adaptation Strategies
  • Growing Canada’s Blue Economy
  • Digital Skills for Success
  • Futureproofing the Environmental Workforce  

View Speakers and Event Agenda

Attendees get access to a lunchtime speed networking event with breakout rooms – meet your next professional match, and can access the main networking room all day.

We’ll also be recognizing Canada’s top environmental professionals, employers and community groups in the ECO Impact Awards portion of the event hosted by Michael Chiasson with keynote speech from award-winning science author and journalist Alanna Mitchell.

Public voting is now open for our Community Impact Award winner. Click here to vote for your favourite video

Use code ESAA15 for 15% off your ticket and join over 200 professionals that have already registered.

Special introduction to the Five Behaviors for Virtual Teams

In today’s world of virtual teams and hybrid teams, it is more important than ever to have the self – awareness and skill sets to connect and communicate with others while working as a team.  Additionally, most of us find ourselves working on a number of different teams with varying personalities.  Add in the fact that with many teams there are new people that you haven’t even met yet in person… we are in some challenging times!

Our Introductory Offer gives you and up to 2 others in your organization an opportunity to learn about the Five Behaviors for Virtual Teams.  What you will learn about yourself and how this can be used throughout your organization will be incredibly valuable for virtual, hybrid and eventually in – person teamwork.

To experience this powerful program, register yourself and up to 2 additional people from your organization.

Register by January 26th to take advantage of the $95/person introductory rate (regularly valued at $250/person):

You will receive:

A Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Personal Development Assessment (see attached Sample Report)

Registration for the one hour Patrick Lencioni, (author of  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), webinar taking place on February 9th, 10:00 – 11:00 MT  90-minute facilitated group session following February 9th to further introduce you to how this can help your Virtual Teams!

To take advantage of this offer respond to this email providing your name and email address along with up to two additional people from your organization, or you can email info@keldarleadership.com

Live Leadership Training: How to Fix a Struggling Team (by conducting a “Defrag / Reboot Meeting”)

An exclusive event for Midwest GeoSciences Group guests

Join Truby Achievements and Midwest GeoSciences Group in January for an exclusive webinar and discussion to jump start your new year by learning how to conduct a very powerful, yet simple, “Defrag / Reboot Meeting”.
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 1 pm CST

Hosted By: Dan Kelleher, Midwest GeoSciences Group
Presented By: Bill & Joann Truby, founders of Truby Achievements, Inc.
Duration: 60 minutes

Let’s face it… 2020 was ROUGH…

  • Your team’s world turned upside down, and you can’t even tell them when things will get better… back to “normal.” Heck, you can’t even say what “normal” might be.
  • If you are working remotely, you may have become disconnected from your team. You work hard to lead them but aren’t sure it’s enough.
  • While your team struggles with changes to their work environment they ALSO have had to deal with extreme stress and worries about their own health and well-being.
  • All this uncertainty, anxiety, and stress wreaks havoc on a team. But we can fix it! We’ll show you how to revive your team by conducting a “Defrag / Reboot Meeting”

Register Now

The PETRONAS International Energy Speaker Series
Connect with global energy thought leaders

The PETRONAS International Energy Speaker Series is your opportunity to see world-renowned and respected international energy experts and learn their unique perspectives on the global energy landscape. The series, held annually is generously supported by PETRONAS Energy Canada. Join the many industry leaders who come to hear an international viewpoint on the energy industry by joining our mailing list.

Canada’s Successful Path to 2050
You are invited to attend the annual PETRONAS International Energy Speaker Series on Canada’s Successful Path to 2050. The event focuses on exploring Canada’s role in serving the world’s energy needs for the next 30 years from diverse perspectives. At this unique event, the expert panel will discuss the relevance of net-zero ambitions, access to capital, LNG demand, blue and green hydrogen, emissions reduction technologies, nature-based solutions and how industry and government respond to current challenges.

The Haskayne School of Business is pleased to welcome the following experts to the PETRONAS International Speaker Series:

  • Tengku Muhammad Taufik, the President and Group CEO of PETRONAS Global
  • The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources
  • Maria van der Hoeven, Former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)
  • Jackie Forrest (moderator), Executive Director of ARC Energy Research Institute

Time: 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. MT
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2021
Location: Online
Questions? Please contact ccs@ucalgary.ca.

The PETRONAS International Energy Speaker series is proudly supported by PETRONAS Canada and hosted by the Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the Haskayne School of Business with the University of Calgary. The series brings world-renowned international energy experts to Calgary to share their unique insights.

Register Now

ESAA Job Board

Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board.  Members can post ads for free.

Current Listings:
  • Business Development Manager – Remediation Services – Clean Harbors
  • Health & Safety Coordinator – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Environmental Engineer / Scientist / Technologist – Nichols Environmental (Canada)
  • Journeyman Plumber – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Mechanical Engineer / Project Manager – McCue Engineering Contractors
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