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Suncor tells regulator reconsidering approvals would arm industry opponents

Oilsands giant Suncor says reopening the debate over mining an ecologically valuable wetland would play into the hands of industry opponents and upset Alberta’s energy development. 

In April, the Alberta Energy Regulator decided to reconsider approvals it granted last fall for Suncor to mine part of McClelland Lake, a large and intact wetland about 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray once considered for conservation.

The decision was a response to studies filed last spring by environmental groups saying Suncor’s plans would damage the wetland and release thousands of tonnes of carbon. 

But in documents filed Thursday, Suncor says proceeding with the reconsideration would give those groups and others a way to challenge decisions already made, adding unnecessary process and delaying development.

It would also let groups intervene in the process that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to. 

Suncor maintains its plans, which include building a wall up to 70 metres deep between the mined and unmined parts of the wetland, are environmentally sound and in the public’s interest. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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