Syncrude takes steps to deter wildlife from Mildred Lake site

By LINDSAY DUCHARME, Connect Contributor

The death of approximately 30 blue herons at Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site has gained national attention and sparked renewed concern over wildlife safety within the oil sands. Syncrude has been placed under an environmental protection order from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) stemming from the incident. Under the order, Syncrude must collect daily water and soil samples for analysis, as well as work to develop a wildlife mitigation plan.

For its part, Syncrude is taking the incident seriously. The company has been abiding by all of the orders from the regulator, which also includes posting daily updates on their website.

“We are saddened by the death of these birds on our site. We are now focused on investigating how it occurred to prevent similar incidents in the future,” explained Leithan Slade, Syncrude public affairs specialist.

“We are saddened by the death of these birds on our site. We are now focused on investigating how it occurred to prevent similar incidents in the future,” explained Leithan Slade, Syncrude public affairs specialist.

Slade said once the investigations, one of which is being conducted by the AER; the other by Syncrude, are completed will include timelines of the bird’s deaths, and theories as to why the birds were attracted to the sump in the first place.

“At this point because in the investigation is currently ongoing we don’t have specific details to provide on that and that includes when we would anticipate the investigation being concluded.”

Though the Mildred Lake facility was the only sump to report any wildlife causalities, Slade said that Syncrude has taken it upon themselves to complete a “comprehensive assessment” of all of sumps in areas across their sites in an effort to ensure adequate wildlife protection is in place.

For the most up to date information regarding the blue heron investigation visit Syncrude’s website at http://www.syncrude.ca/news-room/blue-heron-update/.

– Connect Weekly –