Fort McKay FN hosting Moose Lake Together Summit for responsible development: January 31

(January  2020) – Fort McKay First Nation will host key government and industry stakeholders at the Moose Lake Together Summit on January 31, 2020 in downtown Edmonton.

Fort McKay is asking the Government of Alberta to endorse the Moose Lake Plan at the Summit.

The Plan supports responsible development that respects Treaty rights and protects the ecological and cultural integrity of the Moose Lake area sacred to Fort McKay.

Stakeholders will convene at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Friday, January 31, 2020, to review the final working draft of the Moose Lake Plan. Confirmed attendees include Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations, along with representatives from PetroChina, Sunshine Oilsands, Athabasca Oil, Chevron Canada, Teck, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, and Northland Forest Products. Fort McKay also invited representatives from Prosper Petroleum, as well as Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, and Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta.

“The Moose Lake Together Summit is what a strong Alberta looks like ― government, industry and Indigenous partners working together. Albertans need now, more than ever, to rally together to find solutions that support responsible oil sands development and tell the complete story of Alberta’s energy sector.

“Partnerships among industry, government and First Nations are critical to our collective future success. Together, we can bring clarity and certainty to oil sands development while we respect Treaty rights and protect Fort McKay’s last sacred wilderness,” says Chief Mel Grandjamb of the Fort McKay First Nation.

“I am hopeful that Premier Kenney will join us at the Summit and make the right decision on Moose Lake.”

The morning program at this capstone event includes a panel session and Q&A with experts on the latest draft of the Moose Lake Plan, an exploration of issues with area leaseholders, and a closing press conference on outcomes and next steps.

Alberta released a draft plan in February 2018 to which industry responded with concerns. The government and Fort McKay staff worked for eight months to revise the plan to address those address concerns. The previous government ceased work on the project and the revisions were not shared with industry.

In late October 2019, Fort McKay First Nation argued before the Alberta Court of Appeal to have the Alberta Energy Regulator’s 2018 approval of Prosper’s Rigel Project at Moose Lake overturned in order to protect the community’s Treaty rights. The court has yet to release its decision.

“Our position remains the same. We hope the Alberta government will approve the Moose Lake Plan and support responsible development while protecting the place where our ancestors lived for thousands of years. This is the last place we can meaningfully pass down to our children and grandchildren the traditions of our culture,” says Chief Grandjamb.

In November 2019, the Chiefs of the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta unanimously adopted a resolution to support the Fort McKay First Nation and its efforts to protect Moose Lake as an essential means of “protecting and preserving their ways of life, their ways of being, and their inherent rights.”

Fort McKay is hosting the Moose Lake Summit after 20 years of engagement, collaboration and consultation between the Fort McKay First Nation, the Government of Alberta, and industry stakeholders. The final draft of the Moose Lake Plan is the result of four rounds of government negotiations and five rounds of industry negotiations. Fort McKay has made a number of concessions to provide industry with additional flexibility to develop bitumen resources.

A detailed summary of the latest updates to the Plan will be shared with attendees in advance and reviewed at the Summit. Once approved, the Plan will permit managed resource development in the Moose Lake area with appropriate conditions. Key plan updates that industry has not yet seen include a loosening of interior habitat disturbance limits and accelerated reclamation credits.

“Fort McKay has been a cornerstone of responsible growth in Alberta for three decades. Our economic track record shows we work with all responsible developers to support Alberta’s oil sands. We believe the strength and history of our partnerships can move this stalled decision forward. Let’s cross the finish line on Moose Lake together with a decision at the Summit,” says Chief Grandjamb.

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