Court of Queen’s Bench rules Alberta improperly excluded Pembina Institute from tarsands regulatory process

Court Overturns Alberta’s Decision to Deny Pembina Institute Standing at Regulatory Hearings by Erin Flegg, October 4, 2013, Desmogblog.ca
In a case that featured what Justice R.P. Marceau called “direct apprehension of bias” on the part of the Alberta government, the Pembina Institute has won its appeal to overturn the Government of Alberta’s decision to exclude the think tank from the review process for a proposed tar sands project. … With this decision, Pembina will now have to reapply to the Alberta Energy Regulator for standing, something Simon Dyer, policy director at Pembina, said has become even more difficult after the so-called streamlining of the regulatory process. “They actually made changes to make the standing test even more restrictive,” he said. Where parties once had to prove that the project in question would affect them directly, they now have to prove both direct and adverse impact in order to trigger a hearing. “Everything is pushing toward less public participation…in these regulatory processes, which is unfortunate.” [Emphasis added]

Federal NDP cites court ruling as proof Alberta’s approval process for oilsands projects is rigged by Mariam Ibrahim with files from The Canadian Press, October 4, 2013, Edmonton Journal
Alberta’s Environment minister avoided for the second day addressing a scathing Court of Queen’s Bench ruling against the province’s environmental assessment process, instead focusing her criticism on the provincial and federal NDP. In the ruling released Tuesday, Justice Richard Marceau sharply criticized the province’s Environment department for violating its own policies in a behind-the-scenes attempt to silence oilsands critics. … Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who was in Edmonton Wednesday and Thursday, said the ruling reinforces the belief that the Alberta government’s approval process for oilsands projects is rigged. “It’s a very damning analysis of what’s been going on here,” Mulcair said Thursday after meetings at the University of Alberta. “To have a judge come out so clearly and to say that there’s an absolute breach of the fundamental rules of natural justice in the process simply reinforces the perception of a lot of Canadians in general — and a lot of Albertans in particular — that the dice have been loaded.”

In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, Diana McQueen failed to address Marceau’s ruling directly, instead directing her response to the NDP. “While the NDP prefers to live in the past, referring to documents from five years ago, we stand by our record of extraordinary provincial co-operation [????] and making real progress on Premier Redford’s Canadian Energy Strategy.” Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason said Thursday McQueen was trying to divert attention away from the ruling. He said she should “come clean” about whether she knew about the memo. “She’s trying to create a smokescreen but I don’t think it’s going to work,” Mason said. McQueen is in Europe this week meeting with leaders trying to avert the European Union’s Fuel Quality Directive, which would label Alberta oil worse than conventional oil. … “Mr. Mulcair and his provincial cousins have made a habit of putting politics ahead of facts when talking about Alberta and the oilsands. The NDP have gone out of their way to undermine the good work done,” [????] McQueen said in the statement.

The 2009 briefing note was prepared for the deputy minister — the department’s top bureaucrat — which at the time was Jim Ellis. He is currently the CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator. Both the federal and provincial NDP have called for McQueen to cut her trip short. Alberta NDP MLA Rachel Notley said Ellis should resign as head of the Alberta Energy Regulator, which is responsible for regulating oilsands projects in the province.
In an unsigned statement released Thursday, the regulator said the memo was drafted for “information purposes” by the director in his role as decision maker. “There is no inference or explicit indication of interference, involvement or influence by either the deputy minister or minister in the decisions made by the director on this matter or any other subsequent decision regarding the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition’s status as a statement of concern filer,” the statement continued. [Emphasis added]

Thomson: Environmental ruling likely to sour European trip defending oilsands by Graham Thomson, October 3, 2013, Edmonton Journal
Imagine for a moment you are Alberta’s environment minister. Better yet, you’re the environment minister on a whirlwind tour of Europe this week that includes stops in Paris, Athens and Stockholm. That’s the good news. The bad news is the trip is part of your difficult task convincing the European Union the oilsands is an environmentally sustainable source of energy and Alberta has an environmentally responsible government. Then you get some really bad news. On Wednesday, just moments after touching down in Athens, you receive word that Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Marceau has released a damning ruling against the government’s environmental assessment process.

Terms in the ruling used to describe the process include “tainted,” “fatally flawed,” and a “direct apprehension of bias.”

His ruling, which was filed with the court Tuesday, deals with a complaint in 2012 launched by two environmental organizations — the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association — who felt they were unfairly barred from participating in an environmental hearing dealing with an application by the Southern Pacific Resource group to expand its oilsands project near Fort McKay. The organizations were concerned about the impact on the environment because the project would require up to 1.7 million litres of fresh groundwater each day and contribute to declining air quality. However, the government rejected the organizations’ request to file what’s called a “Statement of Concern” to give them official status in the review process. The government didn’t spell out clearly why it barred the organizations. At least not publicly. But it did in a scheming internal “Briefing Note” that only came to light during the court proceedings. Putting it bluntly, the note said the government was only interested in hearing from organizations that were relatively friendly to the oilsands and wanted to bar organizations deemed to be unfriendly. The briefing note, written by the director of the northern region for Alberta Environment, says people who are “relatively simple to work with” are those who have “never filed an appeal” of a department ruling.

The Pembina Institute, on the other hand, is singled out for its “publication of negative media on the oilsands.” It is important to point out the note was written in 2009, three years before the Southern Pacific kerfuffle, and actually deals with a different oilsands project. However, Marceau reproduced the whole document in his ruling because it reveals the government’s mindset in determining who it will allow into the environmental review process. In other words, the note reveals a bias against anyone who is critical of the oilsands. Marceau says that in his view, “the entire process is so tainted by the ‘Briefing Note,’” that he sympathized with the environmental organizations’ complaints that the government “breached the principles of natural justice.” It also appeared to have breached its own regulations. He goes on to say that nowhere in the province’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act does it permit the government to “reject Statements of Concern from those persons or groups who voice negative statements about proposed oilsands development.” That kind of reasoning, he says, is “fatally flawed.”

It is a highly critical decision that calls into question Alberta’s entire environmental review process. NDP MLA Rachel Notley demanded Environment Minister Diana McQueen cut short her European trip. “The minister needs to pack her bags, get on a flight, and explain to Albertans when she knew about this memo that contradicts and breaks environmental law,” said Notley, who also demanded Jim Ellis, who was deputy minister of environment in 2009 when the memo was written, should resign his current position as CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, which oversees oilsands projects.

This is bad news for the government all around. … On Wednesday, Alberta Environment scrambled to provide a response and then decided not to provide any response at all. Department officials said they are still “reviewing the decision.” As for the minister, the officials pointed out McQueen wasn’t the minister back in 2009 when the memo was written. It was Rob Renner, who is no longer in government. So, no comment, except to say the minister won’t be flying home early. Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute is celebrating the ruling, sort of. He’s happy the judge has sided with his organization and he’s hopeful now the government will be forced to accept Pembina’s Statement of Concern not only for this project, but for three other projects that were rejected previously. But he says the province has once again given itself a black eye environmentally. “I think it’s also damaging to Alberta’s credibility around oilsands environmental management that public participation is actively discouraged,” said Dyer. “There is also the risk that if stakeholders don’t think the process is fair, they will take their concerns outside the process, which will be more damaging to oilsands development in the long run.”

Pembina Institute v Alberta ruling

NDP’s Mulcair slams Alberta government for seeking to silence oilsands critics by Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press, October 3, 2013, The Calgary Herald
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says a judge’s finding that Alberta’s Environment Department has been covertly working to silence oilsands critics reinforces widespread cynicism that the province’s approval process for projects is rigged. “It’s a very damning analysis of what’s been going on here,” Mulcair told reporters Thursday after meetings at the University of Alberta. “To have a judge come out so clearly and to say that there’s an absolute breach of the fundamental rules of natural justice in the process simply reinforces the perception of a lot of Canadians in general — and a lot of Albertans in particular — that the dice have been loaded.”

On Tuesday, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Marceau said Environment Department bureaucrats contravened their own laws by enacting a shadow policy in 2009 to stop the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition from speaking to reviews of proposed oilsands operations. Marceau, in his ruling, pointed to a 2009 briefing note from the department’s northern region director to the top bureaucrat in the department at the time, deputy minister Jim Ellis. The note said that while the coalition had been given standing in previous oilsands hearings, that should stop. It said the coalition was no longer assisting the government on environmental initiatives and that one member of the coalition in particular, the Pembina Institute think-tank, was publishing “negative media on the oilsands.”

The director, who is not named in Marceau’s judgment, suggested the coalition be rejected on the grounds it is not directly affected by the oilsands operations. Marceau found that in June 2012 the director indeed used those grounds to reject the coalition’s application for standing on a Southern Pacific Resource Corp. oilsands in situ drilling operation south of Fort MacKay. Two members of the coalition, Pembina and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association, appealed the decision, leading to Marceau’s decision this week to quash the government’s rejection of the coalition. In his ruling, Marceau noted that nowhere in Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act does it say the government can exclude from reviews “those persons or groups who voice negative statements about proposed oilsands development.”

The government has yet to decide if it will appeal.

Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute has said they don’t reject the oilsands operations outright, but want to see the industry developed in an environmentally responsible way. Mulcair said the issue demands immediate action. “The minister responsible should come back and tell people how it is that a process is put in place that simply doesn’t respect the basic principles of natural justice,” he said. “People have a right to know that the environment is being protected.” McQueen is in Europe this week trying to convince European Union leaders to not place a sanction on oilsands crude based on research showing it is more harmful to the environment than conventional oil.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, McQueen did not address Marceau’s ruling directly except to say “the NDP prefers to live in the past referring to documents from five years ago.” McQueen’s statement also did not address Marceau’s key finding that while the memo was drafted in 2009, it was being acted upon by environment bureaucrats as late as June 2012, on McQueen’s watch. “Mr. Mulcair and his provincial cousins have made a habit of putting politics ahead of facts when talking about Alberta and the oilsands. The NDP have gone out of their way to undermine the good work done,” the statement read. The provincial NDP has called for the resignation of Ellis, who is now the CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, which oversees the regulation of all energy projects in the province. Ellis was unavailable for an interview Thursday, but in a statement issued through the regulator said the issue begins and ends with the northern region director.”The briefing note referenced in the court’s decision stated it was prepared for ‘information purposes’ and was intended to inform the deputy minister of a decision that had been made by the director as decision maker,” read the statement. “There is no inference or explicit indication of interference, involvement or influence by the either the deputy minister or minister in the decisions made by the director on this matter.” The statement does not spell out what, if any, reply Ellis had to the briefing note or if he took any action given it made clear the director was seeking to reject the coalition for reasons outside legislation. Provincial NDP environment critic Rachel Notley said Ellis’s actions are “worse than a cop-out.” “The deputy has to take responsibility for things about which he is informed,” said Notley. “He doesn’t take direction from his staff. It works the other way around, and no regular Albertan is going to believe anything other than that.”

Mulcair said the cynicism that results from issues like Marceau’s ruling has far-reaching consequences for government and industries seeking to build public support for other controversial, big-ticket projects, such as pipelines. “You can’t get to yes on any of these projects unless there’s social buy-in. You can enforce the rules, and change them in such a way that you get the regulatory licence even faster, (but) in absence of a social licence they’re not going to be built,” he said. … Redford has said Alberta has a first-class regulatory system and is a leader in environmental initiatives to limit the impact of the oilsands on air, land, and water. [Emphasis added]

Ewart: Alberta’s image suffers a blow after court’s ruling by Stephen Ewart, October 3, 2013, Calgary Herald
The Alberta government’s extensive efforts to depict itself as a tough regulator of oilsands development have been tainted by a ruling in Court of Queen’s Bench. Even as Environment Minister Diana McQueen and International Relations Minister Cal Dallas tour Europe to trumpet government initiatives in areas such as environmental monitoring and greenhouse gas reductions, Justice Richard Marceau ruled its actions to exclude environmental groups from a 2012 hearing on an oilsands project were “tainted” and “biased.”

Marceau went all the way back to Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis’ personal role in denying a liquor licence to a restaurant owner in 1959 to “envision a more direct apprehension of bias” in his characterization of how Alberta Environment “targeted” the Pembina Institute for exclusion from the hearing for Southern Pacific Resource’s oilsands project near Fort McMurray. Pembina and other members of the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition went to court last month to challenge Alberta Environment’s ruling they were not directly affected by the project expansion. It gets worse. Marceau concluded from an August 2009 “briefing note” for Alberta Environment – obtained through Access to Information – that the decision to exclude Pembina was because it had withdrawn from the regional Cumulative Effects Management Association and published negative reports about the oilsands. He called the briefing note “pivotal to this decision.”

… It feels like a heavy-handed effort to silence an increasingly vocal critic of the government’s oilsands policies. Marceau said the bias against Pembina “breached the rules of fundamental justice.” New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley is calling on Jim Ellis, the newly appointed chief executive to the Alberta Energy Regulator, to resign from that post since he was deputy minister of Alberta Environment when the decision was made to deny Pembina and others a voice in the hearing to expand an in situ oilsands development. It’s worth noting the briefing document was marked “for information” for the deputy minister and not a decision.

Premier Alison Redford has repeatedly said Alberta’s energy industry is overseen by a “worldclass” regulatory system…. “Our regulations are pretty tough,” Redford told the New York Times earlier this year. … The latest news from back home isn’t going to help the messaging around extensive oversight.

The 2009 briefing note said the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition should no longer be given standing at oilsands project hearings, even though it had presented evidence at a more than a dozen previous hearings, because its members were not directly impacted by the development. The memo, sent to Ellis in his role as the department’s top bureaucrat, singled out Pembina over comments in the media indicated it is “less inclined to work co-operatively.”

The subject of who should be able to testify at environmental review hearings as become a major issue for resource industries in Canada and the federal government has moved to limit who can testify and attach time limits to review process. This also isn’t the first call for the resignation of senior executive with the newly established Alberta Energy Regulator. In May, more than 30 environmental, landowner and First Nation groups asked Redford to rescind the appointment of Gerry Protti as chairman of the AER given his long history as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.

“Albertans have a right to a fair oilsands regulatory process, including the right to be heard and raise concerns,” said Simon Dyer, policy director for Pembina, an environmental lobby group. “At a time when evidence is mounting that cumulative impacts from oilsands are exceeding regional thresholds, it’s essential that directly affected stakeholders with credible information get a fair hearing.” Given that is exactly what Redford and her ministers are asking for when they visit world capitals – a fair hearing – it shouldn’t be too much to expect they could provide the same thing back home. [Emphasis added]

2006 Briefing note by Alberta Research Council to blame bacteria before being retained by Alberta Environment

Slide from Welcome Home to a “Natural Drilling Platform” by Jessica Ernst at the People’s Forum, September 22, 2013, Stephenville, Newfoundland

Judge blasts Alberta government for silencing oilsands critics by Canadian Press, October 2, 2013, Common Sense Canadian
Alberta’s Environment Department has been rebuked by a judge for working behind the scenes to silence groups that question the effects of oilsands operations on the environment. … In a ruling filed Tuesday, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Marceau said a provincial director who in 2012 refused the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition standing into a review of a proposed oilsands project was adhering to a 2009 internal department policy memo. … Marceau said the director then “breached the rules of fundamental justice” by beginning from a place of bias.

Nowhere in the law, wrote Marceau, “is there a suggestion that promoting Alberta’s economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner permits the director to reject statements of concern from those persons or groups who voice negative statements about proposed oil sands development.” The 2009 memo made it clear that the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition, or OSEC, should no longer be given standing at regulatory hearings into oilsands projects on the grounds it was not directly affected by the impact of the operations. … “The reasons provided (by the director) are so close to being identical (to the memo) they seem to have been cast from the same template,” wrote Marceau. He noted OSEC was not made aware of the 2009 memo at the time and therefore could not respond to it.

Environment Minister Diana McQueen was not made available for comment Wednesday. She is in Europe meeting with leaders to try to head off a European Union directive that would label oilsands oil more environmentally harmful than conventional oil. Department spokeswoman Jessica Potter said no decision has been made on whether to appeal Marceau’s ruling. But she said there will be a review of the decisions on who gets to speak on the Southern Pacific proposal. “As a result of the ruling we are preparing a new assessment for this project,” said Potter. She declined to discuss the 2009 memo or whether McQueen was aware of it…. NDP critic Rachel Notley said McQueen needs to cut short the European trip and return immediately to address the issue. “This government has a law on one hand that they publish, and secret policies on the other hand that they implement behind closed doors,” said Notley. “If that’s not bad enough, it turns out the secret policies that they’re implementing behind closed doors are designed to punish and to silence those who might disagree with their policies on the oilsands.

“This is banana republic stuff.”
Notley said if McQueen knew about the memo and didn’t act to stop it, “we need to talk about whether she should be in that position any longer.” Notley also said Jim Ellis, the deputy environment minister at the time of the 2009 memo and now the CEO of Alberta’s new energy regulator, should resign. [Emphasis added]

Judge rebukes Alberta for banning enviros from oil sands hearing by Andrew Nikiforuk, October 2, 2013, The Tyee.ca   
An Alberta judge has accused the Alberta government of bias and gross unfairness by actively banning environmental groups from participating in a public oil sands hearing. The Alberta Court of Queen’s bench decision also declared the ban illegal.

Last year, the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition (OSEC), which consists of the Pembina Institute, Alberta Wilderness Association and Fort McMurray Environmental Association, raised concerns about a new steam-assisted gravity drainage tar sands project on the MacKay River. The project needed 1.7 million litres of groundwater a day and directly impacted the living rooms of woodland caribou, a threatened species in the region. But government did not allow OSEC to participate in a public hearing on the grounds that they were not “directly affected.” After OSEC contested the decision, the government submitted a document to the court that it used to ban environmental groups from three other hearings. The Alberta Environment 2009 Briefing Note underscored the reason for banning environmental groups: they weren’t cooperating with the state. The note said the OSEC had published “negative media on the oil sands”; had withdrawn from a discredited industry group; and were “less inclined to work cooperatively.”

Justice R.P. Marceau found the briefing note breached “all the principles of natural justice.” The judge’s decision compared Alberta, which tightly runs all energy hearings, to the authoritarian regime of Maurice Duplessis in Quebec during the 1950s. “It is difficult to envision a more direct apprehension of bias unless it is the Premier of Quebec telling the Quebec Liquor Commission to revoke a restaurateur’s liquor licence because the proprietor is a Jehovah’s Witness as Happened in Roncarelli v Duplessis,” the judge wrote in the decision.

The judge also said the government’s briefing note “hijacked” the vital object of Alberta’s environmental laws, which is “to give the citizens of Alberta as much input as reasonable into the environmental concerns that arise from proposed industrial development.” [Emphasis added]

Court rules Alberta improperly excluded Pembina Institute from oilsands regulatory process Press Release by Pembina Institute, October 2, 2013
Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench has quashed a government decision not to allow the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association to participate in the regulatory review of a proposed oilsands project. In a strongly worded ruling, Justice Marceau called the Alberta Government’s actions “tainted” and concluded, “It is difficult to envision a more direct apprehension of bias,” in the government’s decision to improperly exclude the Pembina Institute’s evidence and participation. “We are pleased to see that this error has been corrected,” says Simon Dyer, policy director for the Pembina Institute. “Albertans have a right to a fair oilsands regulatory process including the right to be heard and raise concerns about oilsands development.” The Pembina Institute filed a Statement of Concern with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development in 2012 to gain standing to express concerns about the second phase of Southern Pacific Resource Corp’s proposed in situ oilsands project on the MacKay River near Fort McMurray. The project would require up to 1.7 million litres of fresh groundwater every day and contribute to declining regional air quality. Further, the proposed project would be located in the habitat of a threatened caribou herd where disturbance already exceeds the threshold identified in the Federal Recovery Strategy for woodland caribou. Documents obtained through the court challenge suggest that the Institute’s “recent oilsands publications,” along with the government’s perception that the energy policy think tank was “less inclined to work cooperatively,” were reasons for rejecting the Pembina Institute’s Statement of Concern related to this project and others.

“It’s deeply troubling that the Government of Alberta would attempt to block participation in the regulatory process on grounds that Pembina has raised concerns of its oilsands management policies,” says Dyer. “At a time when evidence is mounting that cumulative environmental impacts from oilsands are exceeding regional thresholds, it’s essential that directly affected stakeholders with credible information get a fair hearing.” [Emphasis added]

Background:

Judgment: official judgment of the Court of Queen’s Bench

Briefing note: Government of Alberta’s reasons for rejection the Statement of Concern from the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition

Media release: “Pembina Institute takes province to court over right to speak at oilsands hearings”

Judicial review brief: the Pembina Institute’s application to appeal the Government of Alberta’s rejection of OSEC’s Statement of Concern

Judge says Alberta’s effort to bar environmentalists from oilsands hearing ‘tainted, biased’ by Canadian Press, October 2, 2013, Calgary Herald
A judge has quashed Alberta’s decision to not allow environmental groups to take part in hearings on a proposed oilsands project. The Oilsands Environmental Coalition went to court to challenge Alberta Environment’s ruling involving a thermal oilsands project proposed by Southern Pacific Resource Corp. The province said the groups were not directly affected by the company’s plan to build the project on the banks of the Mackay River in northeastern Alberta. Justice Richard Marceau of Court of Queen’s Bench says the government’s actions were “tainted”, “biased” and breached the principles of natural justice. The coalition, including the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association, laud the ruling, saying Albertans have a right to a fair oilsands regulatory process. Alberta Environment officials were not immediately available for comment.

Court rules Alberta improperly excluded Pembina Institute from oilsands regulatory process by Vancouver Observer, October 2, 2013
Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench has quashed a government decision not to allow the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association to participate in the regulatory review of a proposed oilsands project, according to a press release from Pembina Institute today. In a strongly worded ruling, Justice Marceau called the Alberta Government’s actions “tainted” and concluded, “It is difficult to envision a more direct apprehension of bias,” in the government’s decision to improperly exclude the Pembina Institute’s evidence and participation, the press release says. “We are pleased to see that this error has been corrected,” says Simon Dyer, policy director for the Pembina Institute. “Albertans have a right to a fair oilsands regulatory process including the right to be heard and raise concerns about oilsands development.”

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information requests suggest that the Institute’s “recent oilsands publications,” along with the government’s perception that the energy policy think tank was “less inclined to work cooperatively,” were reasons for rejecting the Pembina Institute’s Statement of Concern related to this project and others. “It’s deeply troubling that the Government of Alberta would attempt to block participation in the regulatory process on grounds that Pembina has raised concerns of its oilsands management policies,” says Dyer. “At a time when evidence is mounting that cumulative environmental impacts from oilsands are exceeding regional thresholds, it’s essential that directly affected stakeholders with credible information get a fair hearing.”

Court quashes Alberta oilsands environmentalist ban, calls it biased’ and ‘tainted’ by The Canadian Press, October 2, 2013
A judge has quashed Alberta’s decision to not allow environmental groups to take part in hearings on a proposed oilsands project. … A government briefing note entered as evidence also suggested the coalition was being targeted for publishing negative media about the oilsands.  Justice Richard Marceau of Court of Queen’s Bench called the government’s actions “tainted” and “biased” in his written judgment released Tuesday. “It is difficult to envision a more direct apprehension of bias,” he wrote.  “Accordingly the director’s decision breaches all four principles of natural justice and must be quashed.”

Alberta decision to bar critics from oilsands hearing overturned, Judge calls government’s decision ‘tainted,’ ‘biased’ by The Canadian Press, October 2, 2013, CBC News
A judge has quashed Alberta’s decision to not allow environmental groups to take part in hearings on a proposed oilsands project. The Oilsands Environmental Coalition went to court last month to challenge Alberta Environment’s ruling involving an oilsands mine proposed by Southern Pacific Resource Corp. The province said coalition members were not directly affected by the company’s plan to build the project on the banks of the MacKay River in northeastern Alberta. [Emphasis added]

2013 09 22 Ernst vs Encana AER and Alberta government, Still no ruling by Justice Wittmann on arguments he did not hear 8 months ago

Slide from Welcome Home to a “Natural Drilling Platform” by Jessica Ernst at the People’s Forum, September 22, 2013, Stephenville, Newfoundland

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