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The GNWT will be taking over water quality monitoring at three sites near the Alberta-NWT border.

Dene Nation national chief Norman Yakeleya and Premier Caroline Cochrane met Friday to discuss next steps in water safety for the territory including the temporary assumption of monitoring at Fort Fitzgerald, Peace River, and along the Hay River, Yakeleya told NNSL Media. 

The GNWT will takeover temporary monitoring of three key water sites. Photo sourced via Wikimedia

He said it is critical to ensure that officials here are monitoring whatever is coming downstream from the Fort McMurray oil sands and emphasizes the importance of the GNWT stepping up to take over a federal responsibility. 

“Canada cannot use Covid as an excuse not to do the water quality monitoring,” he said. 

Joslyn Oosenbrug, an ENR spokesperson, said that “The GNWT continues to make its concerns known about the suspension of water quality monitoring in Alberta to both the Governments of Alberta and Canada and to advocate for all monitoring to resume, especially the Oil Sands Monitoring Program sites identified under the Alberta-NWT Bilateral Water Management Agreement.”

She confirmed that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has “agreed to support the GNWT to temporarily conduct water quality sampling at three key ECCC long-term monitoring sites near the NWT border.”

Since the funding announcement, the GNWT has asked both the Government of Alberta and the ECCC to be a part of the oversight committee of the Oil Sands Monitoring Program.

“There’s no Northern representative on that committee that has a lot of say,” Yakeleya said. “These people are making decisions and not having any notification to the people of the North.”

Yakeleya said that while the GNWT and Dene Nation sometimes disagree, it was “refreshing” to be on the same page as a “united front” in protecting the quality of the territory’s water.

“Water affects all of us,” he said. “We’ve got to work together to let the federal government know that we cannot wait for them. . . We have to do that we have to do as Northern people.”

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Natalie Pressman

Natalie is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program. She has since held contracts working with an NGO in Vietnam and with Journalists for Human Rights in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent...

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  1. Absolutely ridiculous that an industry is using Alberta’s freshwater for free, contaminating it to the point they do not know what to do with it, as it can never be made potable again, letting it knowingly seep back into the Athabasca River and then the Minister of Destruction, Nixon, allows industry.. who SELF monitors and regulates (can you fricking believe that!?)….. to NOT MONITOR AND TEST the INDUSTRY POLLUTED WATER!!!
    There is ONLY ONE REASON Industry and Government would take away the testing to ensure it is safe for people, fish and wildlife!! BECAUSE IT’S NOT!! THEY WANT TO BE FREE TO OPENLY RELEASE THE TOXIC PONDS, INTO ALBERTA’S ENVIRONMENT THAT THEY HAVE CREATED FOR DECADES AND DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH. Industry Lobbies government to do whatever they want them to!! NO MORE INDUSTRY LOBBYING PERIOD!! NO MORE ALBERTA ENERGY REGULATOR PERIOD!(AER IS a Private Corporation that is INDUSTRY- operated, 100% INDUSTRY FUNDED and has the authority to control, regulate and make most (if not All) of the decisions in regard to ALL of our Alberta’s water and public lands. THERE IS NO Public Department in Alberta to watch over all of our water or public land….(they will tell there is AEP, but they bow to the AER). But there is More…as quoted from the AER website, they are, “the province’s sole regulator of oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal resource development”!!! Talk about the Fox watching the Hen House scenario!!
    Do not believe the government is managing and taking care of our natural resources!! It is Industry- the AER- that is “taking care of Alberta’s natural resources” and they only have one interest in mind- INDUSTRY!!