Alberta Oil Sands Development and Odour Issues, John Dennis

Alberta Oil Sands Development and Odour Issues, John Dennis

Fort McKay is an Aboriginal community located in the midst of oil sand development in North East Alberta. Increasing emissions of key air contaminants from oil sands industry are monitored and regulated by provincial government. Though industrial odours have long been a cause of complaint in the region, to date odours have not been monitored or regulated by provincial governments, creating escalating conflict and increasing tension between industry, local communities, and government. Fort McKay has developed internal monitoring capacity to recognize and characterize industrial odours in conjunction with regional air shed monitoring for a range of air contaminants. Odour monitoring results are used to inform the community on potential direct and in-direct health impacts. Along with wind direction ambient air monitoring results are also used to identify possible industrial sources of odours and support requests for more effective control of oil sands related industrial emissions. Notably, the lands surrounding Fort McKay prior to industrial development were a pristine boreal forest environment, and the increasing presence of industrial development increasingly erodes the quality of the surrounding natural environment. Supporting more effective management and government regulation of pollution emissions, including odours, remains a goal for Fort McKay as the most heavily impacted community in the Alberta Oil Sands.

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