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First Nation sues Alberta Energy Regulator over tailings leaks from oilsands mine – CBC

Mar 06, 2024

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation alleges negligence, failure to meet Treaty obligations

A First Nation in northern Alberta has filed a lawsuit against the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) alleging negligence and a failure to live up to Treaty obligations in the wake of multiple tailings leaks at Imperial Oil’s Kearl facility.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) said the lawsuit, filed in the Alberta Court of Kings Bench, is based on two major leaks from the oilsands mine’s tailings ponds, which took place between May 2022 and February 2023.

The ACFN claims the regulator failed to inform the First Nation about the leaks. The lawsuit alleges “negligence, nuisance, breach of the duty to consult, breach of the Honour of the Crown, breach of fiduciary duty and unjustified Treaty infringement,” the news release states.

Documents filed by Imperial Oil Ltd. show the company and energy regulator knew the Kearl oilsands mine was seeping tailings into groundwater years before a pool of contaminated fluid was reported on the surface.

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