Message from the Executive Director

Summer is coming to a close and we here at NCIA, are looking forward to a productive fall season. It hasn’t been an idle summer for us though. Over the past couple of months, we completed drafting the 2014 Annual RNMP Report for the Alberta Energy Regulator and expect it will become a public document within the next month or so. We also proceeded with an update to the Regional Noise Model. And lastly, our heavy engagement continued in the Water Management Framework work for the Capital Region and the Air Quality Management Framework for the Capital Region.

Stay tuned for more information in our October newsletter issue.

Cheers,

Laurie

NEWS RELEASE: NCIA Prepares for the Fall

August 27, 2014 – Next week, thousands of capital region students will head back to school, signalling the end of summer holidays. As families in the region adjust to their new autumn routines, Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) members will continue to make progress with their own seasonal changes.

“We are pleased to report the successful completion of turnarounds for eight of our member companies so far this year,” says NCIA Executive Director, Dr. Laurie Danielson. “In the coming months, four more of our NCIA partners will perform scheduled maintenance at their Heartland facilities in order to ensure ongoing safe, efficient and enhanced environmental performance with their daily operations.”

To read more, please click here.

Minimizing its environmental footprint at Keyera Energy

For over a decade, Jarrod Beztilny, Director of Operations, NGL Facilities, at Keyera, has seen firsthand the transformation of industry’s overall approach to minimize its effects on the environment.  “When I reflect back to earlier in my career, I think that consideration for environmental impacts occurs more upfront in the decision-making process now than it did then,” recalled Jarrod. “In the past, we may build something, then assess its operations and modify it after the fact once. Now, we anticipate potential impacts at the front end—and it’s built right into our planning.”

Jarrod cites this being driven not just by regulatory changes but companies recognizing the importance of proactively planning for the mitigation of industrial impacts on the environment. “It’s about the social licence,” observed Jarrod. “We go through all of the requirements to get approval for facility licencing but, in addition, there is also the licence that the public grants us.” Jarrod explains further that the social licence from residents is, in a way, a granting of their willingness to let companies operate within their communities.

Consultation and communication with stakeholders, particularly community residents, is crucial. And Jarrod believes that it’s vital for companies to inform the public and raise awareness about all that they are doing to improve industry processes and reduce impacts. “Raising awareness about what industry is doing helps to reinforce that we’re a part of the community as fellow members,” said Jarrod. Many of the companies in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland have operated within the area for many years—becoming in ways a part of the fabric of the community.

As Jarrod points out, industry also values working in collaboration with one another, particularly through organizations like NCIA, which promotes information sharing. As members of NCIA, for instance, companies put forward their own personnel resources to advocate for the greater group rather than just advocating for themselves on an individual basis. “Although companies aren’t always aligned because of their own specific business drivers and corporate goals, there are some areas where we are very much allied,” said Jarrod. “And municipalities and regulators appreciate that industrial companies have taken it upon themselves to determine what’s important to them and advocate for that—together as one voice.”

An important area where industry has shown considerable progress is in noise management within the region. “For years, there’s been an ERCB directive for how noise should be managed with standards and potential enforcement,” said Jarrod. “However, these standards are more applicable to a stand alone facility that doesn’t influence another facility. They weren’t designed with consideration for a cluster of facilities within one area.” This makes it difficult to determine which facility is contributing to the noise when they’re located in a cluster. The existing rules no longer fit. “The regional noise management plan developed by NCIA is a proactive way to recognize this is an issue and that the existing regulations don’t necessarily fit as they weren’t created with many facilities working in close proximity in mind,” commented Jarrod. According to Jarrod, the development of this plan also served to demonstrate industry being proactive and working cooperatively with one another and regulators to determine what is best.

Keyera has also been proactive in noise management. “It’s one area where we’ve identified some concern, and we’re in the process of expanding the facility in Fort Saskatchewan,” said Jarrod. “That has led us to reassess our site and look for new equipment.” Keyera is set to have the new equipment in place by 2014, and is currently in the detailed engineering stages right now on this project. The company’s operations, however, are low impact overall. Nonetheless, Keyera has been active in reducing their emissions by having some equipment transition from being natural gas driven to electric driven, resulting in a net impact of fewer emissions because the equipment is more efficient. The advancements in the quality of equipment is significant as that serves to lower emissions for any process that’s combustion related. “The new equipment is already better straight out ofthe gate, from a noise perspective for instance,” said Jarrod. “You can buy a lower noise version of equipment so you are ahead of the game when it comes to noise management from the very beginning.”

Jarrod’s hope is that Keyera is seen as a leader in the Heartland region through demonstrating responsible decision-making and prudently investing in innovation and technologies where it makes the most sense for enhancing operations for the benefit of the environment. “It’s about making the right decisions as each issue arises,” concluded Jarrod. “And if everyone does that, then industry’s net impact will be appropriately managed.”

Heartland 101: Industrial Projects on the Horizon in the Heartland

From refining to power generation and pipelines to rail lines, a host of industrial projects are    planned or under construction in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Since Sherritt International located in the area 60 years ago, the Heartland region has amassed more than $25 billion in industrial investment. This industry clustering is a draw for new projects. Much of the planning and infrastructure already exist, in addition to the natural opportunity for synergies with byproducts and feedstock.

Projects many people are familiar with, such as bitumen pipelines and petrochemical processing, are part of approximately $20 billion in planned investment in the Heartland over the next decade. However, there are also unique projects exploring innovative technology, utilizing world leading environmental practices and transforming raw resources into higher value products.

“There are several projects already operating or under construction in the Heartland that will reduce CO2 emissions by a combined 16.2 million tonnes annually. Projects like these are significant in decreasing our region’s environmental footprint,” explains Neil Shelly, Executive Director of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association.

Projects in particular involve carbon capture and storage:

  • Shell Quest will capture CO2 from Shell’s Upgrader to safely transport it 80 km north where it will be permanently stored 2 km underground. Expected completion is in 2015.
  • Enhance Energy’s Alberta Carbon Trunk Line will gather CO2 from the Sturgeon
  • Refinery (under construction) and Agrium, and transport it to mature oil fields in south central Alberta for enhanced oil recovery. Expected completion is in 2015.

To follow the status of these and other industrial projects, visit lifeintheheartland.com and click on Project Status.

“While new projects are expected to generate billions of dollars in investment, existing industry in the Heartland contributes substantially to the local economy. Over $1 billion is spent annually on goods and services, not including utilities and feed stocks. Taxes paid by Northeast Capital Industrial Association members to Heartland municipalities exceeded $83 million in 2013 and salaries and wages for the 6,100 employees were approximately $396 million,” explained Dr. Laurie Danielson, Executive Director of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association.

Additionally, hundreds of thousands of dollars and volunteer hours are provided to Heartland communities for non profit groups, initiatives, projects and organizations.

To learn more Life in the Heartland, visit lifeintheheartland.com, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, orinfo@lifeintheheartland.com.

Heartland 101: New Service Offers Easy Public Access to Local Air Quality Data

Fort Air Partnership (FAP) has just launched a new service on its website www.fortair.org which gives the public direct access to near real time hourly readings from FAP’s eight continuous air monitoring stations in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region. In addition to the current 19 substances tracked by FAP, four meteorological conditions (temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction) can be viewed on demand.

The live-to-web data feed is interactive, making it possible for the user to see multiple substances for one station, or one substance for multiple stations. With a click of the mouse, the readings can be compared to provincial objectives. Variables such as dates and times can be adjusted and graphs can be easily saved or printed.

To read more, please click here.

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