Fort McKay First Nation and Alberta government reach major milestone for Moose Lake

EDMONTON – After 20 years of negotiations Fort McKay First Nation Chief Mel Grandjamb and Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon, announced a three-month roadmap Friday to finalize and approve the Moose Lake Plan.

This comes at the conclusion of a full morning program with government and area leaseholders at the historic Moose Lake Together Summit convened by the Nation.         

Chief Mel Grandjamb of the Fort McKay First Nation praised the Alberta government for their commitment to respect treaty rights and foster responsible growth in the Athabasca oil sands.     

“This roadmap and commitment to finalizing Moose Lake show that responsible resource development can be a tool for reconciliation,” said Chief Grandjamb.

Chief Grandjamb and Minister Nixon shared this major milestone at the Summit convened by Fort McKay in downtown Edmonton. The summit was also attended by Minister Wilson and all Moose Lake area leaseholders including Athabasca Oil, Chevron Canada, PetroChina, Prosper Petroleum, Sunshine Oilsands, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries, and Northland Forest Products. Other attendees present as observers included representatives from the Grand Council of Treaty 8 First Nations, Assembly of First Nations Alberta Region, fellow Athabasca Tribal Council members Chiefs Allan Adam and Ron Kreutzer, other First Nations, the Metis Settlements General Council, Imperial Oil, Syncrude, Teck Resources, and other interested parties.

As part of the three-month roadmap to approve the Moose Lake Plan, Alberta and Fort McKay will conduct monthly meetings and weekly working sessions to ensure a high level of collaboration.

Once the plan is approved, managed bitumen and forestry resource development will be permitted in the Moose Lake area with appropriate conditions that reduce development impacts to maintain the ecological and cultural integrity of traditional land that is sacred to Fort McKay.

“Fort McKay is proud to be a longstanding contributor to Alberta’s economy and to be a champion for responsible resource development even as we protect a culture and heritage that has thrived in this region for millennia,” said Chief Grandjamb.

“The Moose Lake plan will provide the clarity and certainty that we all need to grow the economy and respect Treaty rightsWe look forward to working with Minister Nixon over the next three months to finalize the Moose Lake Plan and cross the finish line together. Our community members can rest assured that Moose Lake — our last wilderness — will be protected to pass down our traditions and way of life for generations to come.”

Fort McKay First Nation leaders wanted the Alberta government to endorse the Moose Lake Plan that allows managed development, combining Alberta’s economic interests and commitment to First Nations culture.

Stakeholders reviewed the final working draft of the Moose Lake Plan at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Jan. 31. The plan, developed with government and industry, respects a 10-kilometre zone around Moose Lake.

READ MORE: Albertans need now – more than ever – to find solutions for responsible oil sands development: Fort McKay First Nation

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