December 2010

Message from the Executive Director

 

As this year comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the many activities that NCIA was engaged in during the year.

Most environmental policy matters related to the Industrial Heartland have now taken on a regional focus under the Cumulative Effects Management action taken by the province.  During 2010, NCIA was very engaged on many fronts as part of several multi-stakeholder processes to advance the cumulative effects management files (Air, Water and Land) in Alberta's Industrial Heartland (AIH).  This engagement with the Government of Alberta, Alberta Environment, Alberta's Industrial Heartland Association, Fort Air Partnership, the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, the AIH municipalities (Strathcona County, Sturgeon County, Lamont County, the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the City of Edmonton), and the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada resulted in significant progress being made in a number of areas, but most notably the Water Management Framework piece.  A lot of work has now been completed to advance our understanding of the baseline science related to water quality management in the North Saskatchewan River.  This information will be instrumental in guiding the next steps on the implementation of the Water Management Framework.

Another key area of major progress for NCIA in 2010 was the Regional Noise Management Plan, which is covered later in this newsletter.  Of particular importance to us was our community engagement on this piece through the local Community Advisory Panels.  We are committed to providing follow up information to those panels in 2011 on the regional noise model that is nearing completion.  NCIA is an active participant in Life in The Heartland and we encourage you to visit that site periodically.

Our focus for 2011 is to continue working with the multi-stakeholder regional forums on Water, Air, Groundwater and Integrated Monitoring and Reporting (all of these areas have been touched on in previous issues of this newsletter) to implement agreed upon frameworks in this region.

Lastly, we would be remiss to not mention the very recent announcement from Total E&P Canada regarding their alliance with Suncor in respect of the Fort Hills mining project, the Joslyn mining project, and the Voyageur upgrader project. This announcement does not impact NCIA directly as Total will remain an NCIA member for the coming year, and our 2011 initiatives will progress as planned.  From a provincial perspective, however, NCIA supports upgrading in Alberta, and this announcement is therefore good for the province. 

In closing, it has been a busy year for NCIA and we are preparing for an equally busy year next year.

From all of us at NCIA have a safe and healthy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Cheers,

Laurie

 

Making Some Noise About Noise!

The NCIA, in collaboration with the ERCB, has already completed the groundwork for the development of a Regional Noise Management Plan (RNMP).  Applying the framework requires several steps.  Regional Modeling reports that were completed in November 2010 must be reviewed and key actions must be identified. Community Advisory Panels must be consulted to discuss the Regional Modeling results.  Information needs to be collected from member companies on their current and recent noise abatement projects.  And finally, the 1st annual report to the ERCB needs to be compiled on RNMP progress.

Each member company will be responsible for implementing the regional plan independently and annual reporting to the NCIA will be required to ensure overall regional compliance.  Under the ERCB’s Amended Noise Control Directive D-038, an NMP must identify noise sources, assess current noise mitigation programs, assess performance effectiveness of noise control devices, and outline methods of noise measurement, best practices programs and continuous improvement programs.

The NMP must incorporate input from all affected persons, including local neighbors, regulated and non-regulated industries, and local government. With this in mind, the NCIA developed a Regional Noise Management Framework which includes several elements:

 

Let’s Compare

Noise Source

Decibel Level

Effect

Jet Take Off at 25 m

150

Eardrum rupture

Death of hearing tissue occurs at 180 dB

Thunderclap, chain saw

130

Pain begins at 125 dB

Power Lawn Mower

100

 

City traffic (inside car)

85

Close to 8 hour exposure limit

Passenger car at 65 mph at 25ft, vacuum cleaner

77

 

Normal human conversation

60-70

Fairly quiet

Quiet suburb, electrical transformers

50

 

Quiet room, rural area

40

 

 

To learn more about NCIA’s Regional Noise Management Plan, please click here.

 

 

Regional Residents Satisfied with Industry's Performance

Regional residents are more satisfied today with industry's performance today than they were in 2008, according to a community survey that was conducted earlier this year.

The survey, conducted for Shell Scotford by an independent research firm, saw dramatic decreases in key issues facing the community.  Where rapid industrial growth in the region was the main issue in 2008, with 19% of respondents placing it at the top of their list, only 4% rated it as their top concern this year.

Only traffic, up from 7 to 11%, saw a modest increase as a top concern.

"While the economy certainly had a role to play in realigning residents' concerns, industry has also done a very good job in recent years in being responsible operators," said Randy Provencal, Shell Scotford's Communications Manager. "If we don't do a good job of operating reliably and being a good neighbour, those favorability ratings wouldn't have improved nearly as much as they have."

The telephone survey of 300 residents of Fort Saskatchewan, Strathcona County, Bruderheim, Sturgeon County and Lamont County, was conducted in April.  While the survey focused mostly on Shell operations, questions were asked about impressions of industry in general -- and the results were similar across the board.

Findings showed that 89 per cent of respondents see Shell Scotford, for example, as being both a responsible operator and a valuable member of the community.  Communication, which saw low scores in 2008, improved from 52% to 66% favorable this year. 

"Shell took to heart what residents had to say in 2008," said Provencal. "We recognised that communications was an opportunity for improvement, and we've worked very hard on introducing more regular communications, such as our quarterly newsletter, Community Connections, more neighbour visits and regularly advertising in the local newspapers to let folks know what we are doing. It's nice to see better results, but we still have some work to do."

If you're interested in receiving a copy of this survey, please contact us at ncia@telusplanet.net.