For years, the Fort McKay First Nation and Fort McKay Métis have voiced concerns about air quality and odours from oil sands operations and questioned whether current monitoring, response protocols, and thresholds are adequate.
Following a yearlong study that examined these concerns, the Government of Alberta, the AER, and Fort McKay First Nation released a report in September 2016 that outlined 17 recommendations to help address concerns.
Work to implement the report’s recommendations has begun and is expected to continue through 2020. This work is being done collaboratively by the Fort McKay Air Quality and Odours Advisory Committee—a multistakeholder committee that is co-chaired by the AER, Alberta Health, the Fort McKay First Nation, and the Fort McKay Métis, and that includes the participation of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), Environment and Climate Change Canada, and industry.
As of September 30, 2017, two of the 17 recommendations have been completed. Work is progressing on schedule on another 8 recommendations. Work on the remaining 7 recommendations is pending.
Fort McKay is located 58 kilometres (km) north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and is surrounded by oil sands operations. Eight open-pit and three in situ oil sands mining operations are within a 30 km radius of the centre for the Fort McKay community, and more are being planned. These operations can affect air quality and contribute to odours in the community. Implementing the report’s recommendations will help address these concerns.