June 2011

Message from the Executive Director


Summer is upon us. And so was the rain. Our lawns are nice and green and hopefully all this rain has offered the reprieve that is needed with the wildfires up north.

Otherwise, it has been a busy couple of months:

The Fort Saskatchewan Trade Show back in April experienced its largest turnout. Dow was the recipient of the "Best Industry Representation" award at this year’s trade show. In celebration of their 50th Anniversary and their global partnership with the International Year of Chemistry, Dow had an interactive booth where attendees could make 'flubber' and see other cool science experiments.







I attended the Spring Noise Conference in Banff in May and presented NCIA’s Regional Noise Management Plan to a room full of acoustical consulting groups. There were about were about 70 people in the room with lots of good dialogue and excellent questions.

Our annual member appreciation luncheon on June 9 at the Legion was fantastic. We had a special 30th Anniversary cake that was enjoyed by all.









As things slow down for many over the summer, NCIA expects to keep a steady pace on its files and we look forward to reporting back to our members in the fall with our summer progress.








History of Industry in the Region: Did you know?

In 1955, Inland Chemicals completed construction of a sulfuric acid manufacturing plant on the site known today as The Marsulex Fort Saskatchewan CSC.




NCIA learns what's on the minds of Heartland and Edmonton residents


As a ‘Life in the Heartland’ (LITH) initiative partner as well as a voice for industry on the provincial government-led Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee developing the cumulative effects management approach in Alberta, NCIA is both profoundly interested in—and engaged with—environmental issues as they relate to industrial development in the Capital Region and Industrial Heartland communities. In keeping with this, we are also active in our role as a collaborator in environmental stewardship with all of our stakeholder partners. 

Given our deep involvement with work related to the environment and our extensive partnership with Alberta Environment in areas covering air, water and land use, we are very interested in also hearing from residents in the Capital Region and Industrial Heartland regarding their perspectives on the environment and industrial development. As a result, LITH recently surveyed Edmonton and Heartland region residents to gauge their attitudes as they relate to their local environment in general as well as the work being done by the government on cumulative effects management, specifically. 

In completing this research, LITH had telephone surveys conducted with 300 residents of the Greater Edmonton area and 300 residents of the Heartland region over the course of one month earlier this year. Those who participated were asked a series of questions to gain a better understanding of such things as:

The results from this survey indicated that healthcare is the foremost top-of-mind provincial and local issue of concern for both residents of Edmonton and the Heartland region. Conversely, it appears that environmental issues are of greater concern to those with a post-graduate education.  Most residents in general, however, indicated that they follow local environmental issues somewhat closely, and that—compared to last year—their personal concerns on local environmental issues have remained the same. In terms of where they go for information on environmental issues, Edmonton residents tend to look to TV news while Heartland residents rely on newspapers. In addition, scientists and academics are considered to be the most trusted sources for local environmental information equally across both groups of residents. Interestingly, the group of people and organizations cited as second to scientists and academics in terms of credibility and believability were environmental groups. (Residents who very closely follow local environmental issues and those who cite their concern for local environmental issues as growing were the two groups of residents most likely to find environmental groups to be very believable.) Those who very closely follow local industrial development tended to find the provincial government and industry (respectively) to be very believable information sources. Additionally, residents in both regions noted that they typically follow local industrial development progress more closely than local environmental issues, with newspapers being the main source of information on this.

As for awareness and understanding of cumulative effects management, only 25 per cent of Heartland residents and 18 per cent of Edmonton residents were familiar with the term. Yet, after hearing the definition of cumulative effects management, a majority of residents overall said they were satisfied—with Heartland residents being more satisfied—with the efforts being made by provincial and municipal governments and industry in this regard. Only 30 per cent of Heartland residents had heard of the ‘Life in the Heartland’ initiative. Furthermore, when Heartland residents were asked to describe the role of ‘Life in the Heartland’, 63 per cent could not. Of those who could, 12 per cent said it helped to improve the area, and eight per cent said its purpose was to monitor the quality of life in the area.

When presented with a list of nine local issues, Heartland residents were more likely to express concern with air quality, water quality and land use planning (in that order). However, there was no clear consensus that emerged in terms of the environmental issues facing both of their communities. Issues most frequently mentioned by Heartland residents were power lines, air pollution and pollution in general (in that order). For Edmonton residents, it was water pollution, pollution in general and the oil sands.  In terms of those with a post-graduate education, the oil sands was of particular importance to them.

The information and perspectives gained from this research are invaluable, and will serve to further inform NCIA’s work with our key stakeholder partners on environmental issues in relation to industrial development and cumulative effects management. It will also help us in our work to inform our community stakeholder partners about the important work being done in this province on environmental management and industrial development.

To view the full report, please click here.


FAP 2010 Community Report


Fort Air Partnership released its Report to the Community in May. Please click here to download the report.


Agrium wins Alberta Emerald Award!

Agrium’s Caring for our Watersheds (CFW) program is the proud recipient of a 2011 Alberta Emerald Award in the Education: Non-Formal category.

“The Emerald Award is like winning an Oscar for environmental stewardship in Alberta. It is a huge accomplishment to win this prestigious award and we are very honoured,” said Lindsey Metheral, Agrium Program Coordinator.  “The Caring for our Watersheds program continues to grow thanks to our community partners who are dedicated to mentoring the students on the state of their local watershed.”

Empowering Students to Bring Their Ideas to Life

CFW is a curriculum-based, environmental program for students across Alberta that empowers them to turn their ideas into realistic solutions. The program consists of a written proposal submitted by teams of students who have researched their local watershed,  identified an environmental concern and developed a realistic solution that can be implemented in their community. The top finalists, selected by local conservation experts, compete in a verbal competition where they can win cash awards for themselves and their school.

“The students have incredible ideas on how to improve our local environment and we are committed to helping them make their ideas happen,” added Metheral.

The key to the success of the CFW program relies in taking action after the contest. All students are encouraged to implement their idea. Agrium donates $20,000 to help students' ideas become reality.

Good for the Environment = Good for our Communities

“I have seen the spectacular innovation and ideas put forth in Caring for our Watersheds. I strongly believe this contest will be beneficial not only to our environment but to the communities where we operate, said Agrium President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Wilson.  ”What better way to help grow the next generation but by engaging them and asking for help in seeking solutions in our communities.”

A university student at this year’s ceremonies commented that all of the generations need to work together to take care of our environment and Agrium couldn’t agree more. By working together we can make a difference.

This was the 20th year that the Emerald Awards have taken place. 

“Albertans are passionate about balancing the development of this province’s rich resources with environmental stewardship. The Emerald Awards recognize and reward the excellent environmental initiatives undertaken each year.” (Alberta Emerald Foundation, 2011).


For more information please contact Lindsey Metheral or  call 1-403-225-7000.



Dow celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Throughout 2011, Dow Chemical Canada is proud to be celebrating its site 50th anniversary in Fort Saskatchewan. 

“Fort Saskatchewan certainly has grown up with and around us,” said Joe Deutscher, Dow’s Fort Saskatchewan site director. “I like to think our growth has been synergistic and it’s symbolic of the opportunities that have come our way both for the city and the company.”

In 1956 Dow established a sales office in Alberta.  To meet the expanding needs of petrochemical customers in western Canada, the company purchased land in Fort Saskatchewan in 1957. The Fort Saskatchewan site began manufacturing products for the agricultural, oil, gas, transportation, and pulp and paper industries in 1961.

Today, Dow’s Fort Saskatchewan manufacturing facility is the company’s largest petrochemical manufacturing site in Canada. The 2,128-acre site is home to world-scale Dow manufacturing plants that use the natural resources in the area to make basic chemicals and plastics.  The site also has a joint venture with MEGlobal Canada to produce Ethylene Oxide and  Ethylene Glycol.

When Dow started operations at Fort Saskatchewan in 1961 it was a locally focused plant operation making and selling products for the region’s agricultural and forestry industries. The facilities evolved over those 50 years and went from filling local needs for herbicides and glycols to being a world class operation providing the building blocks of modern living to anywhere on the globe, said Deutscher. “It has not only created jobs, there are other benefits as well.”

In Fort Saskatchewan, Dow makes a difference in the community through the investment of time and dollars in local organizations and programs. Recent notable contributions:

In addition, open and two-way communications is a key component of the site’s operations.  The Fort established a Community Advisory Panel (CAP) in 1991, and has worked to develop a positive relationship with its CAP members and the community by sharing information about its operations and addressing resident concerns before they become issues.

Furthermore, Dow continues to maintain its dedication to the employees, the environment and the community of Fort Saskatchewan by committing to the initiatives of Responsible Care® and striving to uphold and develop its 184 hectares of Wildlife Greenbelt on the site.

“A lot of people at the top of our company recognise Fort Saskatchewan as a crown jewel in our corporation,” Deutscher said. “Our company would like to duplicate what we have here all around the world. We look forward to celebrating our anniversary with both our community and our employees who have made this important milestone possible.”


Shell celebrates start-up of 100,000-barrel-per-day Upgrader Expansion

Photo: Upgrader Expansion project during construction at Shell Scotford.

After more than three years as one of North America's largest industrial construction projects, Shell successfully started up its Upgrader Expansion project.

The world-class, 100,000-barrel-per-day addition to Shell's heavy oil business was celebrated in style June 24th at Shell Scotford as part of the official opening of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) Expansion.  Premier Ed Stelmach was on hand, along with numerous other dignitaries, to commemorate the important event.

"Shell is proud to operate the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and proud to do business in Alberta and Canada," said John Abbott, Shell's Heavy Oil Vice President.  "Today, above all, we are proud of the many thousands of men and women from every province and territory in this country and beyond who have helped to deliver this world class project.  This project is testimony to their professionalism, effort and achievement."

The Upgrader Expansion construction workforce peaked at approximately 10,000 skilled tradespeople from across Canada. As well, it was a project that saw apprentices comprise nearly one-quarter of the workforce -- meaning the next generation of tradespeople will have had valuable experience working on a world-class project.

The Expansion project was delivered, too, as the world entered one of history's most severe economic downturns.  Shell and Joint Venture owners Chevron and Marathon, stayed the course during that time when many other projects were being cancelled, suspended or mothballed.

Festivities June 24 included a tribute to First Nations communities and a signature unveiling to officially open the AOSP Expansion.  In addition to the Upgrader, the AOSP Expansion includes the Jackpine Mine and extraction facilities northeast of Fort McMurray.