An oil company has been given approval to build a controversial upgrader near Edmonton.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has ruled that Total E & P Canada can construct a 300,000 barrel-a-day oil upgrader in Strathcona County.

Dozens of concerned residents have voiced their concerns over the health risks associated with more development on the industrial heartland.


Residents said they were trying to do what they could to stop French oil giant Total from building the upgrader.

"The board's directive is to ensure this is in the public's best interest and what if these organizations aren't doing their jobs?" asked resident Anne Brown.


The ERCB has received four upgrader applications in the Fort Saskatchewan area. Brown says she has seen all four of them get approved. The resident argues that public health concerns are not being addressed.

"We go to these hearings with the hopes that our concerns are being heard, they did hear us but our concerns were not addressed. Those seven conditions did not address anything to with air quality anything to do with health," she said.


But the ERCB approved the upgrader with several conditions including, a six-month sulfur recovery deadline, a new emergency response plan and noise pollution assessments. Air quality monitoring recommendations have also been made to Alberta Environment.


Greenpeace believes residents shouldn't have to fight so hard to protect their families.

"The government should listen and the government should step in and stop this. And it is really painful to see," said Mike Hudema with Greenpeace.


The company behind the upgrader, along with Alberta Environment insists the public will continue to be consulted on the process.


"We are going to continue to ensure that our neighbours are part of our project plans," said Total spokesperson Elizabeth Cordeau-Chatelain.


Construction on the upgrader must begin by October 1st, 2016 or the ERCB's approval expires.

Source: http://edmonton.ctv.ca

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