The Alberta Energy Regulator's public hearing for a proposed Prosper Ltd. Project in the Moose Lake Area is underway in Fort McMurray. Fort McKay First Nation is prepared with its cross examination.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Prosper Petroleum Ltd. Says Little to Justify SAGD Project adjacent to Moose Lake Reserves
Fort McKay, Alberta (Jan. 9, 2018) – Alberta Energy Regulator's public hearing is underway in Fort McMurray where Prosper Petroleum Ltd. is scheduled to make its case for why it should be allowed to construct its oil sands project within the core of Fort McKay's culturally and historically significant Moose Lake Area. The project would take water from important fisheries and the community's drinking water. Prosper has advised that it will take 30 minutes to make its submission. It will then be subject to cross-examination by Fort McKay First Nation.
"Even though Alberta has acknowledged the need to protect the sacred Moose Lake area from development impacts, it seems Prosper believes it can convince the Panel in 30 minutes why it should be allowed to go ahead and impact a First Nation that has given so much already to work with industry," said Fort McKay First Nation Chief Jim Boucher. "What is disappointing is that it will probably work because this is what First Nations are subject to in this province."
The Alberta Energy Regulator has already excluded from the scope of the hearing, consideration of the issue about the Moose Lake Access Management Plan promised by Alberta to Fort McKay to protect Moose Lake and the key issue of cumulative effects.
"This community has been through this before at the AER hearing. Unfortunately, we are prepared for the Project to be approved by the Regulator. The AER has already put blinders on what really matters to us, the Government of Alberta's commitment to protect the lands," Chief Boucher said. "We have always had to be prepared for the Project to be approved. We have already started our court action. We know the real fight is in the Courts on this Project."
The hearing was delayed from its original scheduled date of Oct. 17, 2017 after Prosper had to revise its water application at the last minute to reveal its true plans for the Project – to take more water from a surface-connected aquifer that feeds the culturally significant waters, including Namur Lake and Fort McKay's drinking water source. The location of the Project is considered water-short by Fort McKay's experts, which means water levels fall below protective thresholds in some years. Namur Lake is located in a Provincial Park.
"We had suspected since back in July 2015 that Prosper's likely plan was to get its Project approval only to just take more water from Namur Lake and the Ells River,” said Chief Boucher. “Then, days before the hearing was scheduled to begin, just to avoid delay, Prosper has come clean about its plans. It is impossible to trust a neighbour like that."
Fort McKay First Nation