Syncrude settles blue heron court case

Picture of blue heron.

In August 2015, 31 blue herons perished near an inactive sump at the Syncrude-owned Mildred Lake site. — Photo courtesy cuatrock77/Flickr

Syncrude has come to an agreement with federal and provincial Crown prosecutors on the charges related to an incident in August 2015, when 31 blue herons were found to have perished near an inactive sump on the Mildred Lake site.

Syncrude has agreed to plead guilty to both federal and provincial charges and pay a total fine of $2.75 million.

“Our organization is saddened by this incident because we don’t want our operations to adversely affect wildlife,” says Managing Director Doreen Cole. “Coming to an agreement with the Crown reflects our remorse about this regrettable incident.”

Syncrude worked with provincial and federal regulators as well as launching an extensive investigation into the cause to address it. Incidental bodies of water, such as the inactive sump where the blue herons were found, were not covered by the deterrents used for tailings areas.

“We immediately took steps to bring all these areas on our Mildred Lake and Aurora sites into our waterfowl protection plan," Doreen says. "We also shared our findings with other operators.”

Syncrude understands the public expects operators to responsibly develop the oil sands. “We’re committed to being a responsible operator and this has strengthened our resolve to reduce the impact of our operations on wildlife.”

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