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Fort McKay proposes 20 km buffer zone

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Compiled by Shari Narine







Fort McKay First Nation appeared in front of the Energy Resources Conservation Board late April to call for the establishment of a 20 km buffer from its reserve in regards to the proposed Dover OPCO. The Dover project proposes a five-phase 250,000-barrel-per-day facility using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage technology. Fort McKay formally stood against the proposed project because Dover would not agree to adjust its project plan to accommodate a buffer to protect traditional territory surrounding Namur and Gardiner lakes, known locally as Moose Lake. Over the course of the hearings, Fort McKay presented extensive evidence of how the proposed project would affect the land and traditional way of life around Moose Lake. Fort McKay residents use the area to hunt, trap, collect berries and carry out traditions including use of the area as sacred burial grounds. “We are not opposed to this project in its entirety and have accommodated many meetings and presented a reasonable compromise to Dover OPCO over the course of many months,” said Chief Jim Boucher, in a news release. “We remain hopeful an agreement to protect this critical area will be reached.” The ERCB has 90 days to deliver a decision.