Week ending August 4th, 2023

Alberta: Creating certainty for renewable projects

Alberta’s government is responding to concerns about electricity projects to ensure future growth is balanced with responsible development.

Alberta is Canada’s leader in renewables projects and investments and Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring that the right processes are in place to support continued investment.

It is critical that Albertans can continue to rely on regular safe and reliable operations of the grid.

Starting Aug. 3, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) will pause approvals of new renewable electricity generation projects over one megawatt until Feb. 29, 2024, and review policies and procedures for the development of renewable electricity generation.

“We are proud of our leadership in responsible renewable energy development and we are committed to its continued growth. This approach will provide future renewable investments with the certainty and clarity required for long-term development.”

Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities

This approach is in direct response to a letter received from the AUC and concerns raised from municipalities and landowners related to responsible land use and the rapid pace of renewables development. At the end of this process, future renewable projects will be able to move forward at a pace that is conducive to business while maintaining responsible environmental stewardship and preserving Alberta’s reliable electricity supply.

Throughout the process, Albertans will still be able to install renewable energy products in their homes and communities will be unaffected by this process.

“Participants in our public hearings have increasingly raised concerns about the impacts and pace of renewable generation development. We are pleased to support the government in canvassing relevant issues for its development of policy to ensure the economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta.”

Carolyn Dahl Rees, chair, Alberta Utilities Commission

“RMA is pleased by this decision to develop a provincewide plan for how the industry can grow strategically and responsibly. Rural municipalities cover roughly 85 per cent of Alberta’s land and their voices must be included in the approval process for all renewable energy projects. We look forward to working with the Government of Alberta to create an approval process that balances provincial and local perspectives and positions Alberta as a leader in responsible renewable energy development.”

Paul McLauchlin, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta 

The AUC inquiry will include reviewing the use of agricultural land and public land for wind and solar projects, land reclamation and the role of municipal governments in land selection for project development and review.

More specifically, the inquiry will inform government policy decisions around the ongoing economic, orderly and efficient development of electricity generation in Alberta and will look at issues, including:

  • Development of power plants on specific types or classes of agricultural or environmental land.
  • The impact of power plant development on Alberta’s pristine viewscapes.
  • Mandatory reclamation security requirements for power plants.
  • Development of power plants on lands held by the Crown.
  • The impact of the increasing growth of renewables on Alberta’s generation supply mix and electricity system reliability.


Alberta announces pause on renewable energy, citing rural concerns

(Source: Edmonton Journal) The minister of affordability and utilities says the move is in response to rural concerns about development on agricultural land, the effect on scenery, reclamation security and system reliability.

Alberta’s United Conservative government is pausing all approvals in the province’s booming renewable energy industry in response to what it says are rural and environmental concerns.

In a statement Thursday, the government said the Alberta Utilities Commission is to institute a six-month moratorium on approving wind and solar power projects greater than one megawatt. The commission will initiate an inquiry into issues of development on agricultural land, effect on scenery, reclamation security, the role of municipalities and system reliability.

“There is a little bit of inconvenience now for the next few months,” said Nathan Neudorf, minister of affordability and utilities. “But if we can set that right for the next 20 years, I think that’s trade-off most people are willing to make.”

However, industry spokespeople said that not only were they blindsided by the decision, it’s a bad call that could cost the Alberta economy.

“It was a done deal before we had a chance to convince the minister that the industry doesn’t need a moratorium,” said Vittoria Bellissimo of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association.

Neudorf said he didn’t meet with industry before the announcement because of scheduling problems.

With few regulatory barriers to entry and abundant wind and sunshine, Alberta has been a leader in renewable energy development in Canada. In 2022, 17 per cent of its power came from wind and solar — exceeding the province’s 15 per cent goal.

There are another 15 renewable energy projects before the Alberta Utilities Commission and more than 90 in various stages of development. Since 2019, corporate renewable energy deals in Alberta have supported nearly $4.7 billion in new capital investment and provided 5,300 jobs.

That boom has created concern in rural communities where wind and solar farms get built.

Paul McLauchlin of Rural Municipalities Alberta said his members have too many abandoned wells and other oil and gas infrastructure on their land to take chances on a new industry that’s still getting established.

“We’ve learned a lot from the oil and gas industry,” he said. “I’d sure hate to see the same happen to solar operators.”

McLauchlin said farmers and municipalities get tax and rent revenues from renewable energy. But people in rural areas are also concerned about agriculture being displaced.

University of Alberta energy economist Andrew Leach said the industry’s growth, spurred by Alberta’s welcoming market, has outstripped the regulator’s ability to deal with it.

“Because Alberta has been open to it, it’s almost gone faster than anybody could have expected.”

He said projection of solar development tripled between May and June, from 2,000 to 6,000 megawatts.

“The grid operator really (was) not prepared for this rush,” he said.

Industry was not happy with the government announcement.

“We are waiting for more information and will continue to evaluate the impact of this decision,” said a statement from Grant Arnold, president of BluEarth Renewables, which has new projects with more than seven gigawatts in the Alberta pipeline.

“Without certainty in Alberta, we will focus our investment in other jurisdictions,” Arnold said.

Bellissimo said it’s not accurate to compare reclaiming renewable energy developments with cleaning up oil and gas wells.

Unlike oil reservoirs, sun and wind don’t go dry. As well, renewable energy is unlikely to create the same kind of contamination concerns as fossil fuels.

As well, Bellissimo said because such developments happen on private land, landowners can build safeguards into their contract.

Alberta currently builds about three-quarters of Canada’s renewables, she said. Thursday’s announcement could reduce that head start as other provinces open up their electricity markets.

“All those things — labour, capital and equipment — will flow elsewhere.”

Alberta New Democrat Opposition said the pause will restrict a source of low-cost energy for Albertans.

“Renewables are the cheapest form of energy for electricity, and increasing low-cost energy supply will help address the affordability crisis,” he said in a statement.

“The UCP should reduce red tape, create policy certainty, and incentivize the development of renewable energy and storage technologies. Instead, they’re sending a terrible signal to investors.”

Environmental groups also condemned the move.

Binnu Jeyakumar of the clean energy think tank The Pembina Institute, said Alberta already requires site cleanup.

“There’s always ways to improve, but you don’t need a moratorium to do that.”

She said it’s unprecedented for Alberta to shut down an industry — even temporarily — while it figures out how to regulate it.


The Canadian Climate Institute said on social media that the moratorium will hurt business.

“Robust reclamation should be required for all energy generation, but pausing approvals is a disruptive market intervention that will create uncertainty for businesses and discourage (investment) when clean electricity is quickly becoming a competitive necessity,” it said.

“This moratorium on renewable energy is bad for business, bad for the environment and bad for Albertans,” Keith Brooks of Environmental Defence said in a release.

“Scaling up renewable energy is essential to addressing the climate crisis. Stopping now makes no sense.”

Still, Neudorf said it makes sense to get in at the start of a burgeoning industry and write rules to ensure it doesn’t create problems down the road.

“We didn’t want the same issues the oil industry is facing,” he said. “We want to have clear expectations and give investors clear expectations of the dollars they might need to put up front.”

Leach said wind and solar farms create land-use issues, but the government’s approach to the industry is inconsistent with its treatment of the oil and gas industry, which is regulated on a case-by-case, project-by-project basis.

“No one can imagine in the middle of an oilsands boom everyone saying what we need is a six-month moratorium on new approvals until we figure out how we’re going to manage cumulative effects.”

He pointed out that while the government has stopped renewable energy partly over reclamation concerns, it faces billions of dollars in environmental liabilities from the oil and gas industry for which it has little security and no real cleanup plan.

“The irony is off the charts,” Leach said.


Alberta Energy Regulator publishes its 2022 Pipeline Performance Report

CALGARY, AB, August 2, 2023 – The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has published the 2022 Pipeline Performance report, its annual publication featuring pipeline incident data from 2017 to 2022. The AER regulates oil and gas pipelines operated solely within the borders of Alberta, including natural gas, crude oil products, produced water, and sour gas.

In 2022, the total number of incidents decreased to 325, compared to 344 in 2021. Over the past 10 years, there have been about 40 per cent fewer incidents, even though the total pipeline kilometres grew by eight per cent in the same period.

Improvement in the incident rate is attributable to the AER’s continuous enhancement of pipeline requirements and inspections that focus on educating industry about pipeline safety. Concurrently, the industry itself has developed and adopted better pipeline practices.

Here are some report highlights:

  • The number of high-consequence incidents decreased by 27 per cent from 11 incidents in 2021 to 8 incidents in 2022. 
  • 65 per cent of pipeline incidents resulted in little (less than one cubic metre or approximately eight barrels) to no substance liquid volume released.
  • The top three high-consequence incidents make up 39 per cent of the total volume of hydrocarbon and salt/produced water released. 
  • Internal corrosion remains the leading cause of pipeline incidents (46 per cent of the total). More than 80 per cent of internal corrosion incidents occurred on uncoated steel pipelines, up from 76 per cent in 2021.
  • Between 2021 and 2022, contact damage during digging increased 75 per cent (24 incidents in 2021 and 42 incidents in 2022). Contact damage is where an operator or a third party hits a pipeline accidentally.


The AER’s Industry Performance Program (IPP) measures, evaluates, reports on, and monitors industry’s performance. The IPP focuses on sharing information with Albertans and holding operators accountable by publicly and transparently reporting on industry performance.


CCME: Environment ministers promote the circular plastics economy and continue discussions on climate adaptation and innovation

Huntsville, ON – July 27, 2023 – Environment ministers met to make further progress on circular economy and discussed innovative solutions to lessen the impact of climate change and strengthen resilience and adaptation at the annual meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) today.

Ministers discussed better management of plastic waste in Canada and received an update from the CCME working group on the Canada-wide Action Plan on Zero Plastic Waste. They highlighted their respective governments’ initiatives to promote a circular economy and to strengthen their efforts to prevent plastic waste and pollution so that plastics are re-used, stay in the economy and out of the environment. Ministers heard and discussed concerns about the proposed federal plastics registry, single use plastics ban, and recycled content and labelling requirements, as well as the need to streamline measures. However, governments remain committed to working together towards a circular plastics economy.

“Ontario was pleased to host the 2023 meeting of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment to discuss our shared commitment to protect the environment, create environmentally sustainable programs that support new jobs, and grow the economy. Working in partnership with other governments, Indigenous communities, industry, and local organizations, we’re ensuring a safe, healthy and clean environment now and for future generations,” said David Piccini, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, who hosted his colleagues in Huntsville. 

Ministers continued their ongoing conversations on climate change. They highlighted the role of innovation in supporting sustainable economic growth and advancing clean energy development, with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Together, we have an opportunity to lead the world in the development of energy and critical minerals as well as emission reduction technology and innovation. Canada can address climate change and have a strong economy, and we are taking meaningful steps to do that now.  Some ministers noted that energy security, reliability and affordability need to be considered.  In order to achieve this, ministers highlighted the critical importance that jurisdictional responsibilities be respected, including strategies, tools, and unique approaches.  They also agreed that meaningful engagement and partnership across equal orders of government are required. 

Ministers discussed the varying impacts of climate change experienced across the country, such as increasingly severe wildfires, droughts, floods, permafrost thaw and sea-ice loss. Ministers expressed condolences for the loss of life that has occurred and acknowledged the sacrifice of first responders in their service to protect our communities as well as the efforts of all of those who are working hard to prepare for, respond to and recover from these events. 

Governments are taking action to build resilience in the economy and across our respective communities. They are putting in place initiatives and strategies, stressing that collaboration and complementary efforts will be key to addressing climate impacts, especially in regards to strategic infrastructure needs. Ministers recognized the need for national leadership to invest in critical infrastructure, respecting provincial and territorial priorities and plans. These actions will ensure the safety of our growing communities and build resilience against extreme weather events. 

“Canada has the resources and technology to drive clean, green growth across our manufacturing, automotive and resource sectors. As environment ministers, we play an important role in leading discussions to address environmental protection.  As part of this, we recognize the importance of supporting Canadian industry to advance emissions reductions. The world is watching, and Ontario calls on the federal government to work with the provinces and territories to streamline processes and remove barriers to important green investments,” said Minister Piccini.

Ministers held a separate and prior meeting with Indigenous leaders from National Indigenous Organizations and representatives from Ontario First Nations and Métis communities and organizations on July 26. Discussions focused on ways to improve collaboration on water issues. In addition, ministers heard the call for jurisdictions to continue to work with Indigenous communities and organizations to urgently build climate resilience.

Representatives from industry and environment organizations also met separately with ministers on July 26 to brief them on their work to increase the circularity of products and businesses in Canada. These initiatives aim to promote a circular plastics economy, while supporting efforts to protect the environment and strengthen the economy.

At the end of the meeting, Newfoundland and Labrador assumed the presidency of CCME. “I look forward to welcoming my CCME colleagues to our beautiful province in 2024 to continue these discussions,” said the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 


Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. fined $755,000 for federal offences related to transporting and discharging ammonia into fish-bearing water in British Columbia

Canadians value clean water and a sustainable environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with the laws and regulations that protect Canada’s natural environment.

On July 19, 2023, in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was ordered to pay $700,000 after pleading guilty to one charge laid under the federal Fisheries Act. The company was also ordered to pay $55,000 after pleading guilty to two charges laid under the federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. The charges stemmed from offences related to transporting and discharging ammonia into a body of water that flows into fish-bearing water. The company was also ordered to pay $8,477.43 in restitution to the City of Richmond, representing the cost to the Richmond Fire Department’s response to the incident.

$700,000 of the fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and will be used to support projects that have a positive impact on Canada’s natural environment.

In November 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers and Transport Canada inspectors initiated a joint investigation after an individual called for emergency medical assistance after inhaling ammonia gas at Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd.’s warehouse.

The investigation revealed that in October 2017, a large quantity of contaminated ammonia was removed from a fishing vessel in Richmond, British Columbia, during maintenance of the refrigeration system. The ammonia was transferred into a high-pressure storage tank on shore.

Sometime between November 1 and 23, 2017, the storage tank, containing the contaminated ammonia, was collected and transported by truck to Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd.’s warehouse by a company employee. This was done at the direction of one of the company’s owners.

On the morning of November 24, 2017, a garbage disposal company employee arrived at the warehouse to collect garbage and became ill from the strong smell of ammonia. His call for help led local authorities to the storage tank’s location—it was in the back of the truck and was releasing ammonia into a fish tote of water. The contaminated water was overflowing into a storm drain, which flows into Bath Slough and discharges into the fish-bearing Fraser River. This was a violation of subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

The investigation also revealed that, contrary to sections 5(a) and 5(d) of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, the contaminated ammonia storage tank was not built to the required specifications for the transport of dangerous goods. The tank also did not have any shipping documents or safety marks as required under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations. The driver did not have a Transportation of Dangerous Goods Training Certificate. No individuals involved had the required training in the handling, transportation, and storage of ammonia.

Experts estimate that approximately 1,227 lbs of ammonia was released into the environment, with approximately 929 lbs of which was released into the storm sewer, and the remainder vaporizing into the air.

As a result of this conviction, the name of the company will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick facts

  • In November 2017, Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. was quoted $19,000 plus taxes and freight by a refrigeration contractor to dispose of the contaminated ammonia. Arctic Pearl Ice and Cold Storage Ltd. declined the offer of service.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada administers and enforces the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act. These provisions prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish, or in a place where they may enter water frequented by fish.

  • Ammonia is a deleterious or harmful substance under the Fisheries Act. It is a very strong base, and only a little is enough to drastically increase the pH of water. Ammonia is very toxic to aquatic life.

  • Both gaseous ammonia and ammonia dissolved in water are listed as toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Ammonia may be fatal if inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or swallowed. It causes severe skin and eye burns, and may cause glaucoma, cataracts, and permanent blindness.

  • In Canada, the transportation of dangerous goods is strictly regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992. The Act and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations were designed to promote public safety and security during the transportation of dangerous goods.

  • Ammonia is a regulated dangerous good listed in Schedule 1 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements and aims to invest in areas where the environmental damage occurred.


Peace River Hydro Partners ordered to pay $1.1 million for deposit of contaminated drainage water into the Peace River

Canadians value clean water and a sustainable environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with laws and regulations that protect Canada’s natural environment.

On July 31, 2023, Peace River Hydro Partners pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of British Columbia in Fort St. John to one charge of depositing a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish, in contravention of the federal Fisheries Act. It was fined $1.1 million, which will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund to support projects that have a positive impact on Canada’s natural environment.

The charge stemmed from an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers into the discharge of 3,300 m³ of contaminated drainage water into the Peace River on September 9 and 10, 2018. The investigation determined that, during a high rainfall event, the water management infrastructure at the Site C Clean Energy Project near Fort St. John, British Columbia, had insufficient available capacity to treat the additional drainage, and a mix of treated and untreated drainage was released into the Peace River. The contaminated drainage water had a low pH (acidic) and a high concentration of metals. A sample of the drainage water collected on September 9, 2018, determined that it contained a concentration of aluminum that was acutely lethal to fish. This unauthorized release was contrary to subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

As a result of this conviction, Peace River Hydro Partners will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick facts

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act. Subsection 36(3) of the Act prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish, or in an area which could lead to water frequented by fish.

  • The Peace River is “water frequented by fish”, as defined under the Fisheries Act. The river contains 33 species of fish, including Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Sculpin, Redside Shiner, Spottail Shiner, etc.

  • Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout (Western Arctic population) are listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada as species of special concern, and provincially blue-listed as a species of special concern. Spottail Shiner are provincially red-listed as in danger of extirpation, endangered, or extinction.

  • The Environmental Damages Fund was created in 1995 and is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to repair environmental damage or to benefit the environment. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, and aims to invest in areas where the environmental damage occurred.


Gravel pit gets green light from province despite opponents’ objections

(Source: Cochrane Eagle)  The Alberta government has removed a major hurdle for a gravel company to start mining up against Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, but the preservation society that takes its name from the nearby creek is asking them both to just hold their horses.
The Alberta government has removed a major hurdle for a gravel company to start mining up against Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, but the preservation society that takes its name from the nearby creek is asking them both to just hold their horses.
Bighill Creek Preservation Society (BCPS) spokesman Gerry Bietz said they filed their appeal of the province’s decision to the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board under the Water Act on July 26. The approval to gravel company Mountain Ash Ltd. was issued by the province six days earlier.

Now, the watchword for the entire process is uncertainty.

BCPS’s appeal centres on a few main concerns around the proposed construction and operation of a surface mine located on 130 hectares (323 acres) of land overlying the aquifer that sustains Bighill Creek. The open pit operation would be located northeast of Cochrane at the corner of Highway 567 and Range Road 40.

The society is concerned the mine would pose a material risk to the region’s groundwater resources and as a result, potentially jeopardize the springs, creek, provincial park and related wetlands and riparian habitats.

In their statement of appeal, the society further claimed “the park receives approximately 250,000 visitors annually and was recently renovated at a cost of $1.2 million due to heavy use, so if there is no assessment of the cumulative risks of this and future mines, this investment will have been entirely wasted.”

The park’s ecology is sustained by the main spring that issues from an aquifer extending approximately 78 square kilometres (km) to the north and west. The aquifer is located underneath the mine site. Big Hill Springs Provincial Park lies at the approximate centre of the watershed.

The aquifer’s water provides about half the flow into Bighill Creek. A broad range of native and some introduced fish occupy the creek. BCPS is currently assessing the creek as to its suitability for reintroducing endangered Bull Trout and Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

BCPS filed a Statement of Concern with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA) in relation to the application last year.

The society retained an expert, Dr. Jon Fennell, whose report stated that when buried sediments are excavated and exposed to the atmosphere, the local geochemical conditions change. The increased chance of mineral oxidation, combined with the unusual weathering and leaching reaction would result in the release of various constituents into the local groundwater.

Fennell is a professional geologist, hydrologist, and geochemist who specializes in water security and climate resiliency. His report last year recommended that gravel excavations not be allowed within 1.6 km of the park boundary. For a further 800 m from the boundary, a minimum of a four-metre separation between excavations and groundwater would be required.

Both Fennell and Alberta Parks recommended gravel excavations not be allowed within 1.6 kilometres of the park boundary, and argued a minimum four-metre separation between excavations and groundwater should be required. Mountain Ash Ltd. is proposing to leave a one-metre separation.

BCPS’s appeal document said this week’s decision fails to address any of these concerns, including similar complaints registered by Alberta Parks – despite assurances from the provincial department that all of their concerns would be addressed.

“The information we got from [EPA] is that the project can go ahead while we await the results of the appeal,” Bietz said.

“We don’t know if they can start stripping land, or how aggressively they can move forward.”

He added BCPS is disappointed in the decision, but just as importantly, they can’t find any rationale from the province, or explanation of any response to any of the concerns raised by the expert’s report.

“We don’t [feel EPA] provided sufficient acknowledgement of the issues we raised, and we’re still coming to grips with the basis on which they made their decision,” Bietz said. “They refer to a series of appendices, but they didn’t attach the appendices, so we’re at a bit of a loss.”

The mine would be located about 800 m from the spring. At this location, almost the entire flow issues from the Paskapoo bedrock in an area smaller than the size of an average bungalow.

According to BCPS’s research, this and other prospective mines in the region will remove the vegetated organic soil, the subsoil, and up to 25 m of gravel, leaving only one metre of gravel above the estimated and fluctuating level of groundwater.

Adjacent to the park in addition to the subject lands, six quarter sections or about 1,000 acres (404 hectares) are controlled by gravel operators.

Burnco, with three of those quarter sections immediately across the barbwire fence from the park, is currently evaluating their lands for gravel mining.

BCPS claims that with up to five operating gravel mines on its boundary, the park use would be subject to untenable noise, dust, and industrial impacts.

“The Decision fails to address remediation and reclamation of the subject lands and provides no apparent assurance that the project applicant will be held financially responsible to mitigate, remediate and reclaim any impacts on the Spring, Creek or Park,” BCPS’s appeal states.

The application to mine gravel was approved on March 2, 2021 by Rocky View County (RVC) council at a special public hearing. An official from what was then called Alberta Environment and Parks wrote emails and letters to RVC expressing concerns about the gravel extraction plans and advised that more studies were needed. Council approved the application in spite of that opposition.

Since then, stakeholders on the project have been awaiting word from the province on whether the Water Act provisions were being adequately addressed.

This week’s ruling means that the province not only has rejected BCPS’s arguments, but they’ve ignored advice from their own department.

Bietz believes it’s still “up un the air” as to whether Mountain Ash will proceed and begin stripping the area – as they are now allowed to do – or wait for the results of the appeal.

Mountain Ash submitted a report to the province (conducted by SLR Consulting on their behalf) that states: “The report demonstrates that no adverse net impact of the operations on the hydrologic/hydrogeologic setting is expected.

“Under the current excavation scheme, the overall risk of any significant negative impacts on water resources as a result of the development are negligible. This is based on the fact that the aggregate resource will not be mined into the water table, and therefore changes to the groundwater flow system are extremely unlikely.”

Rocky View County would still have to issue a development permit for the gravel extraction operations to begin.

A somewhat ironic backdrop to all this is that RVC has once again embarked on a review of their aggregate extraction policy – something that has been on-again off-again since 2018.

Bietz said he is a sitting member of a committee that has been struck by the County to reconsider an aggregate extraction plan.

“It’s hard to imagine what would happen if a plan came out saying projects like Mountain Ash’s do not conform to societal needs – or whatever that process might determine,” he said.

“So that process is all going on in the background,” he said.

Calls from The Eagle to EPA were not returned as of the newspaper’s press time.


Remediation Technology News and Resource

(The following are selected items from the US EPA’s Tech Direct – http://clu-in.org/techdirect/)


Upcoming Live Internet Seminars

Evaluating Plant Uptake of Chemical Contaminants in Crops Grown Near Urban Gardening Sites for Human Health Risk Assessment – August 9, 2023, 1:00PM-3:00PM EDT (17:00-19:00 GMT). This seminar, postponed from July, aims to provide an assessment of the potential exposure routes, plant uptake pathways, and remediation practices of chemicals contaminants found in crops grown in urban gardening sites. It will focus on both inorganic and organic pollutants that are considered contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) by the U.S. EPA. The presence of several trace elements and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in urban soil media were analyzed on the state-level to quantify the potential contamination risk associated with plant uptake mechanisms by crops commonly grown throughout the various regions of the U.S. CECs exposure routes in urban agriculture (UA) scenarios and associated human health risks are assessed. This seminar also serves to provide potential remediation methods for polluted urban soils, with an emphasis on affordability, accessibility, and sustainability of the methods. For more information and to register, please visit https://clu-in.org/live/

SERDP ESTCP Removal of Munitions Constituents from Wastewater – August 10, 2023, 12:00PM-1:00PM EDT (16:00-17:00 GMT). This webinar will feature DoD-funded research efforts to develop treatment technologies for munitions in wastewater. First, Dr. Jennifer Weidhaas (University of Utah) will present her research results on developing more efficient, cost effective, and sustainable treatment trains for mixed munitions wastewater. Second, Mr. Brian Hubbard (U.S. Army Program Executive Office Ammunition) will discuss the development, scale-up, and results from several field demonstrations of a technology capable of rapidly and completely destroying insensitive munition constituents in explosives production wastewater.For more information and to register, please visit https://serdp-estcp.org/webinars.

PNNL’s RemPlex and IAEA “Assessing Environmental Remediation Technologies: Soils” – August 15, 2023, 11:00AM-12:30PM EDT (15:00-16:30 GMT). At any given site, selection of the most appropriate remedial alternative is driven by a variety of environmental, technical, economic, social, regulatory, and policy-driven factors. Panelists Bruce Marvin and Norbert Molitor will discuss aspects of remediation technologies—such as efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, maturity and availability, complexity, plus long-term maintenance and monitoring requirements—to be considered in the selection of a given soil remediation approach. The seminar will cover technologies that are available to treat a broad array of contaminant categories (radionuclides, metals and organics). For more information and to register, please visit https://www.pnnl.gov/projects/remplex/seminars.

SERDP ESTCP Developing and Demonstrating PFAS Passive Samplers – August 24, 2023, 12:00PM-1:00PM EDT (16:00-17:00 GMT). This webinar will feature DoD-funded research efforts to develop and demonstrate PFAS passive samplers. First, Dr. Lee Blaney (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) will discuss the development and performance of anion exchange membranes as passive samplers for PFAS. Second, Dr. Paul Edmiston (The College of Wooster) will talk about the development of the Sentinel passive sampler and its use for groundwater, surface water, and stormwater monitoring. For more information and to register, please visit https://serdp-estcp.org/webinars.

New Documents and Web Resources

In Situ Thermal Remediation (EPA 600-R-23-062). The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe these commonly used in situ thermal remediation technologies, and how they are deployed to remediate VOC and SVOC contaminated sites. The effects of temperature on the physical properties of common organic contaminants that result in the effectiveness of these technologies for the recovery or destruction of contaminants are also briefly described. A case study is provided for each of the thermal technologies discussed. In addition, guidance is provided on evaluating, contracting, and implementing thermal technologies within the Superfund process of evaluating alternative technologies, including preparing bid documents for thermal remediation services, reviewing designs, and monitoring the implementation of the remedy. For more information and to download the publication, please visit https://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_report.cfm?Lab=CESER&dirEntryId=358095

High-Volume Sampling for Vapor Intrusion Assessments. This fact sheet covers high-volume sampling (HVS) as a method to characterize the nature and extent of volatile organic compound (VOC) vapor distributions under large buildings. Case studies at NAS Corpus Christi and NS Norfolk are included as well as a summary of the advantages and limitations of applying HVS. For more information and to download the fact sheet, please visit https://www.clu-in.org/navfac-hvs-factsheet.pdf

Technology Innovation News Survey Corner. The Technology Innovation News Survey contains market/commercialization information; reports on demonstrations, feasibility studies and research; and other news relevant to the hazardous waste community interested in technology development. Recent issues, complete archives, and subscription information is available at https://www.clu-in.org/products/tins/. The following resources were included in recent issues:

    • Bench-Scale Assessment of NMR and Complex Resistivity (CR) Screening Technologies for Rapid Assessment of PFAS in Soils and Sediments
    • Study to Assess Treatment Alternatives for Reducing PFAS in Leachate from State-Owned Landfills
    • PFAS Podcast Series: SERDP and ESTCP Research and Demonstrations



New ESAA Members

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


Full Member:

Bifrost Environmental and Remediation Services Inc.

340 Midpark Way SE, Suite #300
Calgary, AB T2X 1P1
Phone: (587) 777-5026

Mark Lehar, President and Senior Environmental Scientist
[email protected]


The Bifrost (or Bifröst and pronounced BEEF-roast) is a part of the Old Norse mythology and is defined as the fleeting or shimmering, rainbow bridge that connects the world of the Gods, Asgard, with Earth, the world of Humanity. It has also been called “the swaying road to heaven.”? The Valkyries would take the souls of the fallen warriors across the Bifröst into Valhalla to live out eternity with their warrior brethren. What better way to describe the Northern Lights, an apparent connection between the heavens and the earth during the times of the Ancients? Just as the bridge described in Old Norse mythology, Bifröst Environmental and Remediation Services Inc. will be the shining bridge between complex environmental issues that seem to exist in the realm of the Gods, and common-sense environmental solutions. We will provide you, our Client, with explanations that bring your complex environmental issues back down to earth. Building a Bridge Between Environmental Regulatory Issues and Environmental Consulting Solutions.

Full Member:

HDR Corporation

639 5 AVE SW
Suite 1510
Calgary, AB T2P 0M9
Phone: (403) 727-0500

Krista Fulford
[email protected]

HDR specialize in engineering, architecture, environmental and  construction services. While we are most well-known for adding beauty and structure to communities through high-performance buildings and smart infrastructure, we provide much more than that. We create an unshakable foundation for progress because our multidisciplinary teams also include scientists, economists, builders, analysts and artists.

Full Member:


900 N. Squirrel Rd, Ste 210
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Phone: (386) 523-4790


Mark Van Hoose
[email protected]

Founded in 1988 by Rod Mersino, coming from an extensive background in specialized drilling and construction site dewatering, Mersino Inc. has evolved into a multi-faceted corporation able to engineer and deploy a full-service approach to groundwater control and pumping solutions. Mersino considers its people, the Mersino Team, as our most valuable asset and strives to maintain a culture that inspires dedication to customer service. Whether a planned project or an emergency response, Mersino, available globally, is positioned to meet client challenges with expertise, equipment, and service anytime, anywhere. Mersino’s array of services is reflected in its slogan, “The Only Full-Service Solution.” 866-MERSINO.


Upcoming Industry Events


Upcoming ESAA Events for the Remainder of 2023


ESAA Calgary Mixer – SOLD OUT
September 12th, 2023


ESAA Lethbridge Mixer – 20 SPOTS REMAINING
September 13th, 2023
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Blanco Cantina, 319 – 6th Street, Lethbridge

 To Sponsor or to RSVP


ESAA Grande Prairie Mixer – 2 SPOTS REMAINING

September 27th, 2023
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Latitude 55, 10030 102 Avenue, Grande Prairie

 To Sponsor or to RSVP 


ESAA Lloydminster Mixer – 11 SPOTS REMAINING

October 3rd, 2023
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Three Trees Tap + Kitchen, 8120 – 44 Street, Lloydminster

 To Sponsor or to RSVP 


ESAA RemTech 2023 – Early Bird Registration end August 10th

October 11th to October 13, 2023
Fairmont Banff Springs
Hotel and Conference Centre
404 Spray Avenue, Banff 

 Register Now 


ESAA PFASA Symposium – Program Coming Soon…

December 6th, 2023
8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fairmont Palliser Calgary, 133 – 9th Avenue SW, Calgary

To Sponsor or to RSVP


ONEIA PFAS Symposium – Click the Image to learn more or register


ESAA Job Board

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

Current Listings:
  • Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist – Summit
  • Environmental Specialist – Summit
  • Senior Environmental Professional Planning (Various Locations)  – H3M Environmental
  • Lead, Reclamation and Remediation Services – Associated Environmental Consultants Inc.
  • Environmental Engineers/Scientists/Technologists Regina, Saskatchewan – Nichols Environmental (Canada) Ltd.
  • Labourer (Various) – Summit
  • Geoscientist – RemedX Remediation Services Inc.




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