October 2012

Message from the Executive Director


Earlier this month, we heard the significant announcement made by the Government of Alberta that it will establish an arms-length science-based environmental monitoring agency. Our focus has always been that sound science should drive environmental outcomes and the need for monitoring. Scientifically credible monitoring results in the development of good environmental policy for sustainable development in Alberta. NCIA maintains a strong, positive relationship with the Government of Alberta and is looking forward to working with the new management board and what will become the arms-length environmental monitoring agency with respect to monitoring in Alberta's Industrial Heartland region.

Two other significant provincial files that NCIA has been engaged in are:

As well, NCIA’s 2012 Annual RegionalGroundwater Monitoring Report is now released and can be accessed here.

And lastly, NCIA will be running a four-week ad campaign in the community newspapers in the Heartland Region. They will start running in early November followed by the release of our 2012 Report to the Community.




Alberta to establish arm's-length environmental monitoring agency

On Oct 17, the provincial government announced that it will build the most comprehensive environmental monitoring program in Canada with the establishment of a new arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency.

Excerpt from the official news release:

The agency will be built on credible science, research and data collection. This is the key recommendation of the independent Environmental Monitoring Working Group report released by the Alberta government. The new science-based agency will begin work in the oil sands region and will focus on what is monitored, how it’s monitored and where it’s monitored. This will include integrated and coordinated monitoring of land, air, water and biodiversity.

A management board named by Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Diana McQueen will immediately begin work to set up the new agency.

“Under the leadership of Premier Redford, this government has been clear on the need to improve how we manage natural resource development in the province,” said McQueen. “Building on the implementation of our first regional land-use plan in the Lower Athabasca, the move to an arm’s-length environmental monitoring agency is the next critical step. This agency will be the first of its kind in Canada and signals to Albertans, Canadians and the world that we are committed to world-leading resource stewardship.”

To read the full news release, please click here.

The full report of the Environmental Working Group is available online athttp://environment.alberta.ca/03379.html.


Province to create a new single energy regulator

On October 24, Alberta took a bold step that will improve the energy regulation system for landowners, industry and the environment. Bill 2, the Responsible Energy Development Act, creates a single provincial regulator for upstream energy resource activities involving oil, gas, oil sands and coal. 

The new regulator will be a unified one-window approach that makes it easier to navigate the system. It will also be responsible for energy resource developments from initial application to reclamation.

To read the full news release, please click here.


Life in the Heartland hosts next Community Information Meeting on October 30

As part of navigating the wealth of information on industry development in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, NCIA member companies participates in Life in the Heartland’s twice per year Community Information Evenings. ┬áThe next event is coming up on October 30th from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Landing Trail School in Gibbons.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Keyera to construct de-ethanizer in Fort Saskatchewan

On September 10, Keyera announced its plan to construct a 30,000 barrel per day de-ethanizer at its NGL fractionation and storage facility in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. The de-ethanizer will allow Keyera to process an ethane-rich stream of NGLs (referred to as C2+ mix) creating specification ethane for delivery to petrochemical producers in Alberta and a propane-rich stream of NGLs for delivery into Keyera’s fractionation facilities. The estimated total gross cost for the project, including the receipt facilities, C2+ mix storage and pipeline interconnections, is approximately $110 million. Keyera is targeting completion for the first half of 2014.

CLICK HERE to read complete news release.



Access Pipelines Building New Headquarters in Fort Saskatchewan

On September 13, Access Pipeline Inc. announced the beginning of construction of a regional office and warehouse at 11409 Josephburg Road, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. The new office will initially house 32 staff and will be home to its new pipeline control center. Additional facilities on site will provide space for equipment storage and critical pipeline inventory. Access Pipeline has been expanding since starting operations in 2007 using Sturgeon Terminal as its operations centre. It anticipates construction of a third pipeline between Conklin and Sturgeon County to begin in 2013.


Heartland 101: How Cold Weather Affects Air Quality


When the weather gets cold enough, exhaust from vehicles and homes becomes a very visible mist in the air. Is all that vapour simply more visible to the eye, or is the level of pollution actually greater in the winter? The answer is yes to both questions.


Some sources of emissions, like those from industrial operations in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, stay fairly constant throughout the year, no matter what the season. But roaring fireplaces, wood stoves and idling vehicles in the winter all add up to higher levels of particulate matter (the particles that make up smoke) and carbon monoxide (from vehicle emissions).


On top of this, cold temperatures and stagnant air have a way of creating a build-up of these substances near the ground, particularly during a weather phenomenon called temperature inversions. In other seasons or weather conditions, warm air sits near the ground and the air can rise easily and carry away pollutants. In a temperature inversion, cold air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air. The warm air acts like a lid, holding these substances down.


During a temperature inversion, smoke can’t rise and carbon monoxide can reach unhealthy levels. From an air quality perspective, storms are a welcome weather event. Wind, rain and snow storms are sometimes called scrubbers because they help clear out and disperse these substances of concern.


Fort Air Partnership is the organization responsible for collecting ambient (outdoor) air quality data in the Heartland region and surrounding areas. Most of the time during the winter, air quality in the Fort Air Partnership airshed stays within good or low health risk ranges, as measured by the Alberta Air Quality Health Index. If AQHI readings do increase in the winter, it’s generally due to the temperature inversion phenomenon.


Indoor air quality also becomes a greater concern during the winter because of the amount of time that people stay inside with poor ventilation. Without adequate circulation, carbon dioxide levels can become an issue, leading to headaches and lethargy. Generally, outdoor air quality is better than indoor air, so the best antidote is to get outside regularly, open windows for short periods if possible and keep fireplaces and ventilation systems clean and maintained.

Brought to you by Life in the Heartland, a partnership aimed at improving access to information, resources, and contacts for residents in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. For more information, visit www.lifeintheheartland.com, email info@lifeintheheartland.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LifeintheHeartland.