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Environment groups, First Nation want public hearing on Pathways carbon capture plans


Environmental organizations, a northern Alberta First Nation and a group of concerned landowners are asking the Alberta Energy Regulator to conduct a full-scale environmental impact assessment of the oilsands’ industry’s massive proposed carbon capture and storage project.

The request was filed with the regulator Monday by Ecojustice, on behalf of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Alberta Wilderness Association, No to CO2 Landowner’s Group, Environmental Defence, and the Climate Action Network.

The groups say they want the regulator to hold a public hearing on the Pathways Alliance’s proposed $16.5-billion carbon capture network, which would capture CO2 emissions from more than 20 oilsands facilities in northern Alberta and transport them via a 400-kilometre pipeline to an underground storage hub near Cold Lake, Alta.

The Pathways Alliance, which represents Canada’s six largest oilsands producers, began submitting in March the first of what is expected to be a series of regulatory applications for the project.

But Ecojustice says given the size and scale of the proposed project, the provincial regulator should be conducting one full-scale environmental impact assessment instead of evaluating the proposal in stages.

Ecojustice says the groups behind the request have a wide range of concerns about the proposed carbon capture project, including water consumption, pollution and safety.