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Sahtú Renewable Resources Board

Industry/Wildlife Print Email

Shale Oil Exploration in the Sahtú

The Sahtú has experienced an exploration boom since 15 shale oil leases were awarded in 2011 and 2012 and 2013. There has been a lot of concern about impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat. The exploration boom has highlighted the Board’s responsibility to provide meaningful input in environmental assessments.

When licensing and permitting applications are submitted and deemed complete, the Sahtú Land and Water Board (SLWB) has 42 days to make a decision on whether to issue a permit/license or request more information. The Board must be prepared to respond quickly and with the best available knowledge. Our knowledge comes from expert consultants in traditional knowledge and science.

Last fall the Board commissioned a report entitled Role of the SRRB in Environmental Assessment: Reflections and Recommendations. The report analyzed how the Board can best respond to industry applications.

The Board works to provide specific recommendations related to our mandate in wildlife management. It is important that these can be enforced through terms and conditions of the program. For example, the Board might recommend alternate routes or alternate methods to do the work that have less impact on wildlife and wildlife habitat. They might recommend using “best practices” that have been demonstrated elsewhere.

Making a Difference

The Board has made a difference with some of our recommendations and suggestions over the past year. Here are some examples:

  • Increased sampling frequency in groundwater and surface water monitoring plan.
  • Use of tracers in fracking fluids, which would be traced back to fracking fluids in case of any groundwater contamination.
  • Use of the Alberta Environment Standard for Baseline Water Testing for Coalbed Methane operations in the groundwater and surface water monitoring plans.