ESAA Weekly News – Week ending March 19th, 2021

This issue sponsored by: THINK Envirotechnical Services


Notice of ESAA AGM / Final List of Board Nominees / Voting Information

 

As a reminder, due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions the AGM of ESAA Members will be held via GoToMeeting on April 7th at 1 pm.  If you are interested in attending, registration is free.  Register Now

2021 AGM Documents:  The 2021 AGM documents can be downloaded via: https://esaa.org/2021-esaa-agm/

Documents include:

  • Notice of AGM
  • AGM Agenda
  • 2020 AGM Minutes
  • List of Board of Directors – Final Nominees (also included below)
  • Board Nominee Bios


We strongly encourage you to exercise your right to vote. 
If you are the main contact with a Full ESAA Member you should of received an email with your unique login and code to vote for Board of Director Election.  Check your email for an email with further instructions.  Instructions will be coming from a third-party service, ElectionBuddy.  If you have not received it contact Joe at the ESAA Office.

Registration is free.    Please RSVP via the following registration link:  Register Now


Record of Site Condition / Remedial Action Plan

We appreciate those who have taken the time to provide feedback on the new .pdf Record of Site Condition (RSC)/Remedial Action Plan (RAP) form.

Because some users are having difficulty with the form, we are temporarily replacing the form with the RSC Word form used previously.  The RSC Word form can be found at:

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

Please remember not to embed or combine the RSC Word form with other reports – please submit it as its own attachment in the same email as the submitted reports.

The RSC Word form does not contain the information needed for a Remedial Action Plan (RAP).  Until a revised .pdf form is available, please submit the RAP in a document containing information required in the RAP Guide. The Guide can be found at https://open.alberta.ca/publications/remedial-action-plan-guide

Please continue to submit the RSC form and RAP by email to [email protected]

We will release an improved .pdf RSC/RAP form later in 2021.

Questions about the RSC form and RAP guide can be set to: [email protected]


Taking action on consumer waste supports jobs, economy

Alberta’s government is launching formal consultations to design a made-in-Alberta solution to plastic, packaging, and hazardous household waste.

Alberta’s government is seeking ways to better manage this waste through a circular economy approach –an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program that will reduce volume in our landfills and diversify the economy. Under this approach, the cost and management of recycling shifts from municipalities and municipal taxpayers to those directly producing and consuming goods, encouraging companies to produce less waste and packaging and come up with innovative ways to recycle more materials.

“Furthering our recycling goals as a province is a win-win-win for the environment, local economies and municipalities, some of whom are sitting on backlogs of potentially recyclable materials. Changes to how we manage recycling in Alberta have been a long time coming and I am proud that our government is working to make the province a global leader in addressing plastic waste.” – Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

Consultation will occur with municipalities, industry experts, Indigenous communities through stakeholder meetings and with the public through an online survey.

“The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) is pleased to hear that the Government of Alberta is taking action on plastic waste. The RMA recognizes the value of recycling management and is a strong advocate that municipalities play an important role in waste reduction and waste management. We are looking forward to engaging with Alberta Environment and Parks and other stakeholders to design a made-in-Alberta solution to plastic waste that works for all.” – Paul McLauchlin, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

Currently, Alberta’s recycling activities support a total of 7,500 jobs while the sector contributes about $132 million a year to provincial gross domestic product. A shift to extended producer responsibility will increase the provincial GDP share to more than $148 million. The change would also cut emissions by an estimated 72,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually, or the equivalent of taking 120,300 passenger cars off the road each year.

“Alberta municipalities have long advocated for an EPR framework and an EPR packaging and paper program in Alberta. We welcome this opportunity to contribute to this policy’s development, which will benefit our environment, provide recycling services residents need, reduce taxes for local ratepayers, and create Alberta jobs. Alberta municipalities look forward to finding a made-in-Alberta solution.” – Peter Demong, AUMA vice-president, Director of Cities over 500,000, and Cathy Heron, AUMA vice-president, Director of Cities up to 500,000

“Investors that are looking to Alberta’s economy will see this program as a strong sign of the government’s commitment to strong environmental, social and governance policies, and ARMA’s vision of a future without waste. Extended producer responsibility initiatives like this one use sensible, sustainable plastics diversion and recycling strategies for economic growth. This creates conditions for economic development while meeting the demands and expectations of consumers, investors and taxpayers. Albertans should be proud of this initiative. Together, we are building a circular economy where domestic ingenuity is creating jobs, value, and making our world a cleaner, greener place.” – Ed Gugenheimer, CEO, Alberta Recycling Management Authority

Moving to a province wide extended producer responsibility approach will provide greater efficiency and economy of scale for recycling. Many other jurisdictions in Canada have already introduced similar approaches, benefiting taxpayers and the environment. Extended producer responsibility does not always mean extra costs for consumers. Industry funds the programs and decides whether or not to charge consumers. In other jurisdictions, there have been no additional consumer fees for packaging materials and Alberta consumers may already benefit from extended producer responsibility programs because product pricing is done nationally.

The public online survey is open until April 30.

Quick facts

  • Albertans send 1,034 kilograms per person of waste to landfills annually.  
  • Packaging and printed paper make up 15 to 20 per cent of waste. This represents a lost opportunity to keep material of value (e.g., plastics) in the economy and out of landfills.

Related information


Alberta environment minister tells rural areas coal mining doesn’t threaten water

(Source: Lethbridge Herald)  EDMONTON – Alberta’s environment minister is trying to reassure rural municipalities in the province’s south that their water supply isn’t threatened by industrial development such as coal mines.

Many municipalities have expressed concern about what effects the government’s plan to expand the coal industry would have on water supplies.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says despite changes to water allocation from rivers, environmental rules remain the same.

Nixon was responding to a question from a Pincher Creek councillor who referred to a resolution on water passed Tuesday at a convention of rural municipalities.

The resolution says the province changed water policy to benefit a proposed open-pit coal mine in the Rockies without consultation.

It calls on the province to ensure water supplies remain of high quality and are adequate for the needs of everyone in the area.

Nixon says there’s no threat to water supplies or quality, and suggests concerns are the result of misinformation.


AER: Land Petroleum found guilty of failing to allow AER access to a facility for inspection

March 11, 2021… Land Petroleum International Inc. has been ordered to pay an $80 000 fine for failing to allow AER staff access to a natural gas facility to inspect it in August 2018.

The company was found guilty of one charge under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act (OGCA) in provincial court.

The AER made several attempts to inspect the natural gas facility near Ponoka, Alberta, licensed to Land Petroleum.

The company’s president, Bill Fung, told AER staff that they could not enter the facility to inspect it. The AER considers this a serious noncompliance because it prevents us from ensuring safe and environmentally responsible energy development.

The AER subsequently conducted an inspection of the facility. It has since been sold and licensed to a different operator and is currently operating within AER requirements.

The fine follows charges that were laid by the AER against Land Petroleum and Mr. Fung.

The charges against Mr. Fung were withdrawn by the court after he agreed to enter a common law peace bond. The peace bond is a court order that requires Mr. Fung to comply with all AER requirements for three years. If he fails to meet the conditions of the peace bond, he could face criminal charges.

The court’s decision is available on the AER’s Compliance Dashboard under the tab “Noncompliance & Enforcement.”

The AER ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.


AER directs WIPs and OWA to provide care and custody over Mojek’s oil and gas sites

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued an order after repeated failure by Mojek Resources Inc. to comply with regulatory requirements in Alberta. 

With this order, the AER is escalating enforcement against Mojek after it failed to clean up multiple spills, comply with multiple orders, and demonstrate that they can provide for the effective care and custody of their sites. The AER has directed the working interest participants and the Orphan Well Association (OWA) to provide care and custody over Mojek’s sites.

Working interest participants are other parties that have a financial interest in a licensee’s wells and facilities. When directed by the AER, they have a duty to provide reasonable care and measures when the licensee they have partnered with has failed or is unable to do so.

“We work with licensees to ensure they understand Alberta’s rules, and the majority of companies follow those rules,” said Blair Reilly, AER’s director of Enforcement and Emergency Management. “When they don’t, we take action to protect public safety and the environment.”

The AER’s order requires the OWA and Mojek’s working interest participants to take a number of actions, including the following:

  • suspending all of Mojek’s wells, facilities, and pipelines and ensuring they are left in a state that is safe to the public and environment;
  • addressing historical noncompliances at Mojek’s sites;
  • confirming an active emergency response number that will initiate an immediate response in an emergency; and
  • providing a detailed plan that demonstrates how Mojek’s wells, facilities, and pipelines will be cared for while they are suspended.

Following repeated attempts to bring Mojek into compliance, the AER suspended all of Mojek’s operations in January 2021 and ordered the company to take action. The company remains in noncompliance with AER requirements. The order does not absolve Mojek from any of its responsibilities and liabilities, but ensures that the sites are responsibly attended to for the protection of the public and environment.

Mojek holds AER licences for 32 wells, 35 pipelines, and one facility, and currently owes $1.76 million in security to the AER for its end-of-life obligations. The company also owes outstanding debts to the Orphan Well Association and the AER.  

A copy of the order and past enforcement taken against Mojek can be found on the AER’s Compliance Dashboard under the tab “Noncompliance and Enforcement.”  

The AER ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.

BC Legacy sites restoration program cleans up environment, supports good jobs

The Government of British Columbia is launching a first-of-its-kind effort to restore oil and gas “legacy sites” across northeastern British Columbia.

This effort will support good-paying local jobs, clean up the environment and restore traditional lands in northeastern B.C.

A legacy site is an area of land disturbance, such as a seismic cut line previously used for oil and gas activities. The disturbance to the natural environment has long-lasting effects on traditional land uses by Indigenous peoples and on wildlife habitat.

Historically, all vegetation on these sites was removed to allow for the movement of large vehicles and equipment. These sites were created at a time when restoration or reclamation was not required to meet today’s higher standards.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program is a collaboration between the provincial government, the federal government, Indigenous communities and a consortium of industry members.

“This new program is one of three aimed at cleaning up the environment by restoring lands impacted by the oil and gas sector in northeastern B.C.,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation. “Our $6.5-million investment with our partners will put British Columbians back to work, clean up our environment and advance reconciliation.”

Historical oil and gas development has had a variety of impacts on the regional environment as well as the people and wildlife that rely on it. For example, wide swaths of deforested land make it easier for predators to hunt caribou that traditionally travel these routes, causing caribou populations to decline. Legacy site restoration includes soil and vegetation replacement, providing caribou with a suitable habitat to raise their offspring.

In 2020, the Province and the oil and gas sector signed the Petroleum and Natural Gas Restoration Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on planning and jointly funding projects designed to restore and/or reclaim legacy oil and gas disturbances of the natural landscape.

“Working with Minister Ralston and the Government of British Columbia, we are creating jobs, cleaning up our environment and supporting the hardworking people in our oil and gas sector,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr., federal Minister of Natural Resources.

The Province and signatories to the MOU initially contributed $1.5 million to help implement the restoration program. Subsequently, the Province allocated an additional $5 million to restore legacy sites from the $120 million provided by the Government of Canada to clean up oil and gas sites as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. 

The Province divided this funding into three programs: the Dormant Sites Reclamation program, the Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation program and the Legacy Sites Restoration program. The three programs will boost the provincial economy and accelerate restoration of the environment.

The implementation of the MOU, overseen by a restoration management committee, will provide opportunities for Indigenous communities, service contractors and stakeholders in B.C. to apply for funding to support restoration and reclamation activities.

Learn More:

To read more about the Petroleum and Natural Gas Legacy Sites Restoration program, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/natural-gas-oil/responsible-oil-gas-development/petroleum-and-natural-gas-restoration

To read the Petroleum and Natural Gas Restoration MOU between the Province of B.C. and the oil and gas sector, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/natural-gas-oil/png-crown-sale/restoration/png_restoration_mou.pdf

Find out about the restoration projects managed by the BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society here:
http://www.bcogris.ca/

New map details potential environmental threats from B.C. mines

(Source: Toronto Star) A new map detailing B.C. mine sites and the potential risks they pose to the environment is now available to communities concerned about industrial pollution leaking into drinking water and fish habitat.

SkeenaWild Conservation Network and the BC Mining Law Reform Network released the map of 173 metal and coal sites in response to what they call growing concerns over antiquated B.C. mining regulations.

SkeenaWild executive director Greg Knox said he and his team spent four months compiling the data from limited ministry documents, mining company websites and interviews, and environmental assessment reports.

“The information on the map was challenging to uncover,” Knox said. “How can we begin to investigate these potentially mine-damaged waters and monitor the extent of the pollution, when the information is not even available to the public?”

The map features 173 large coal or metal mines either closed, abandoned, or active, but excludes 130 sites currently in the exploration stage.

Of those studied, only two sites pose no water contamination threat, according to the research, while 116 have already contaminated the surrounding environment or have the potential to do so. Knox said 55 of the sites had no publicly-available information about contamination risk.

Leaks from tailings ponds would pose serious threats to salmon habitat throughout the province. Knox singled out the Northwest’s Babine Lake, the largest sockeye salmon producing system in Canada that contributes about 90 per cent of sockeye returns to the Skeena River. SkeenaWild research has found high levels of metal contaminates around two decommissioned mine sites, within the lake and in fish tissue.

The 2014 breach of the Mount Polley mine’s tailings pond underscores the need for more transparency in the mining sector, say the map’s editors. A provincial investigation found poor regulations contributed to the disaster that released 24-million cubic metres of waste water into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely.

In a statement to Black Press Media the B.C. government said it has taken substantial action to improve mining oversight since the Mount Polley investigation recommendations, including the formation of a mining division on health, safety and enforcement in 2019, backed by $20-million.

An amended Mines Act in 2020 also created a chief permitting officer position distinct from the chief inspector of mines, and a chief auditor to evaluate the effectiveness of regulatory framework. A committee was then established to ensure regulations remain current and responsive to industry changes.

A ministry spokesperson said these amendments recently led to the first successful prosecutions in two decades for non-compliance.

The government’s BC Mine Information Website, a site related to prosecutions and penalties, and the MINFILE database offer public access to mining activities, but Knox cautioned these resources are starved of adequate information.

“It cost us over $20,000 to pull this information together and produce the map, I think this reflects the lack of ease and availability of information that should be easily accessible to the public.”

He added many permits allow companies to exceed pollution levels and to discharge water from contaminated sites, so even if a mine is in compliance it is still possible to cause harm.

Nikki Skuce, co-chair of the BC Mining Law Reform Network believes the government is making genuine strides to improve mining regulation, but notes the laws developed in the 1850s were intentionally lax to encourage exploration and settlement during the gold rush era. Despite government assurances today, environmental organizations are still pushing hard to see regulations overhauled to reflect current standards of social responsibility and scientific knowledge.

“B.C. is trying to position itself as a leader for mining materials that go toward the low-carbon energy future … but it needs to do more in order to truly be considered a responsible mining jurisdiction,” she said. “The government has committed to put in some kind of polluter-pays policy into their mandate, but it’s been four years of public engagement. They also committed to implementing the recommendations of the Mount Polley disaster but they have yet to fully do that.”

The closed Tulsequah Chief mine near the B.C.-Alaska border has been leaking high levels of acid drainage into the Taku watershed for more than 60 years. Despite ongoing talks between the province and their American counterparts, the mine was a key feature in a successful campaign by U.S. senators, led by Alaskan Republican senator Lisa Murkowski, to receive $3.6 million from the American government to pressure the B.C. and Canadian governments into reforming mining regulations they say have placed transboundary watersheds at risk.

The province took the mine into receivership in 2016 and has secured all known chemicals on site. This summer road repairs and other infrastructure upgrades will begin ahead of remediation work developed with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation. Each of three remediation options will cost the province in the high tens-of-millions of dollars.

But the mine’s owners had provided just $1 million for its reclamation bond, according to Skuce, who points to Tulsequah as an example for higher bond requirements.

“If a company has to pay upfront for how they’re going to eventually close the mine, then they’re going to choose tailings that are less risky for communities and watersheds,” Skuce said.

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On this, the province agreed, saying it “strongly believes” large industrial projects should be bonded to pay the full costs of environmental cleanup, and is currently engaging with First Nations, environmental organizations and industry to put something in place.

“While mining companies are responsible for reclamation liabilities on their mine sites whether a bond is held by government or not, we know there is more we can do.”

To view the map visit reformingbcmining.ca.

If you are hiring a summer student, you may qualify for wage funding through ECO Canada. Applications are now open.

Looking to grow your team’s capacity and productivity this summer? Apply for ECO Canada’s summer co-op funding and get up to 50% of a student’s salary covered to a maximum of $5000.

Funding is available for environmental employers looking to hire the brightest minds in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math (STEAM) and Business students, with no age restrictions, for 6-16 week placements.

Students and employers looking to apply for co-op funding should check to see if they’re eligible through our online assessment tool. 

“I am excited about this investment in the workforce of tomorrow… By encouraging employers to hire youth, including northern, remote and Indigenous youth, we are helping build a diverse, qualified labour pool and create a green economy that benefits all Canadians.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

ECO Canada’s employment programs have helped create over 7,500 jobs to date and distributed over $40 million in funding to eligible employers across Canada while providing valuable work experience to students.

Funding is limited, so make sure to submit your applications early.

Apply Now

New ESAA Member

ESAA welcomes the following new member.  If you are not a member of ESAA you can join now via: https://esaa.org/membership/join-esaa/

Full Member:

Norquest College

10215 108 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 1L6
Phone: (780) 713-1695
Web: www.norquest.ca

Sithara Fernando, Program Chair
[email protected]

Profile:

Environmental protection technologists provide an important service to society by helping protect and sustain the long-term health of our ecosystems. NorQuest offers a two-year diploma program will prepare students for technical work in the environmental sector. Students will gain the practical knowledge and skills needed to offer professional advice on a wide range of subjects, including: environmental impact assessment; hazardous and non-hazardous waste management; waste reduction and reuse strategies; air, soil, and water pollution prevention and monitoring; compliance auditing; and contaminated site investigation and remediation.

Upcoming Events

New ESAA Webinar: ACWA Roles in Developing Alberta Water Solutions to Emerging Global Problems

11am – 12pm
March 24th, 2021

Register Now

Dr. Leland Jackson will discuss the The University of Calgary’s Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, its capacity and role in developing made in Alberta water solutions for global problems like Microplastics, Antimicrobial Resistance and the Environment and pharmaceuticals in the water systems.

Presenter:
Leland (Lee) J. Jackson
Professor | Department of Biological Sciences
Scientific Director | Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets
Adjunct Professor | Faculty of Environmental Design
University of Calgary

Dr. Leland Jackson’s research interests center on processes that affect the stability of aquatic communities and ecosystems, and relationships between sustainable growth and water quality and quantity. 

Registration is free!

If you are interested in sponsoring this webinar, contact Joe at the ESAA Office. 

Register Now

Virtual EnviroTech 2021 Information and Call for Abstracts
June 2 & 3 

While we had hoped to see you all in-person at EnviroTech 2021, with the ongoing COVID19 restrictions, EnviroTech will once again be on-line, scheduled for June 2nd & 3rd. Complete EnviroTech 2021 details can be found at: www.esaa.org/envirotech

ESAA has listened to all of the feedback we received through 2020 and we have made a number of major changes to the delivery of EnviroTech 2021. 

What changes can you expect?

  • New Event Website
  • New Platform
  • Virtual Exhibits
  • Virtual Group Chat Features
  • Individual Speed Networking
  • and much more

Additional details about the platform will be released in the weeks prior to EnviroTech.

Registration, Sponsorship, and Exhibitor Information

Registration: Registration is now open for EnviroTech 2021.  Early bird rates for members and non-members are available until April 16th.  Rates start as low as $69.  Student and Unemployed rates are also available.  Register Now at: www.esaa.org/envirotech

Sponsorship: If you were a sponsor in 2020, we will be in touch with you shortly about your options for 2021 and how to use any credits you have on file with ESAA for EnviroTech.  Watch your email in the next 7-10 days for additional details. For new sponsors, information will be available soon via the sponsor page of the EnviroTech 2021 website.

Virtual Exhibit Space: Virtual exhibit space is only available with sponsorship packages.

 
Call for Abstracts 2021

ESAA invites you to submit technical abstracts for EnviroTech 2021. Abstracts are encouraged in, but not limited to, the following areas:

Water

  • modelling, monitoring, quality, hydraulic fracturing, emerging contaminants, oilsands issues, saline, contamination, industrial re-use, wastewater treatment, risk management, groundwater, surface water, water wells, wetlands, produced water

Climate Change

  • adaptation, alternative energy, carbon credits, energy efficiency, energy from waste, GHG monitoring and sampling, regulatory, sustainability, impacts of climate change, CleanTech

Air

  • monitoring, modelling, sampling, quality, regulatory, noise management

Waste

  • landfill design, landfill closure, hazardous waste management, emerging contaminants, resource recovery, regulatory

Testing

  • laboratory testing and sampling, field testing and sampling, monitoring, analysis

Decommissioning

  • management, safety, hidden dangers, technology

Indigenous

  • engagement, stewardship

Panel Discussion

  • ESAA will consider submissions that could be used as a panel discussion for the opening of either day.

Other

  • topics from areas not listed will also be considered

The preliminary selection of presentations will be based on submitted abstracts and reviewed by a panel of peers.

Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words (not including bio), should include a presenter biography and be submitted as a Word Document by no later than midnight on Friday, April 2nd, 2021.

Before submitting your abstract, ensure that client approval has been obtained.

Send abstract submissions to Joe Chowaniec via email to: [email protected]

Notification of acceptance will be given by April 30th, 2021.

Thank you for your continued support of ESAA and ESAA events.

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
  • Summer Students / Seasonal Staff – Vegetation Management – North Shore Environmental Consultants
  • Senior Aquatic Ecologist – SLR Consulting
  • Environmental Scientist – SLR Consulting
  • Principal Hydrogeologist – SLR Consulting
  • Senior Environmental Assessment / Environmental Planning Professional – SLR Consulting
  • Sales Specialist – CARO Analytical Services
  • Project Archaeologist – Tree Time Services
  • Permit Archaeologist – Tree Time Services
  • Environmental Assistant – Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting
  • Manager, Human Resource – Trace Associates
  • Senior Researcher – Reclamation, Remediation – InnoTech Alberta
  • Junior Environmental Consultant – North Shore Environmental Consultants
  • Intermediate Environmental Consultant – North Shore Environmental Consultants
  • Intermediate Environmental Consultant – North Shore Environmental Consultants
 
 
 
 



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