Alberta creates group to include Indigenous communities in oil site rehabilitation

Premier Jason Kenney announced a new working group to strengthen relationships between contractors and Indigenous communities as part of Alberta's Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) on Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

The province is partnering with Indigenous groups to continue oil and gas site rehabilitation work around the province.

Premier Jason Kenney announced a new working group to strengthen relationships between contractors and Indigenous communities as part of Alberta's Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) on Wednesday.

The announcement was made on Enoch Cree Nation, west of Edmonton. The First Nation has an agreement with Backwoods Energy, owned by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, to clean up 55 sites on its land.

"The working group will help to build connections, like the one right here between Backwoods and Enoch Cree," Kenney said. "It will also help increase the number of Indigenous companies who participate in and benefit from this program."

According to the province, the group currently includes about 50 members and will grow over time.

An advisory committee and an Indigenous liaison have been appointed to help encourage and grow participation.

"The actions we're announcing today are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of future opportunities in the energy sector for Indigenous companies, workers and communities," Kenney said.

Pleased to announce we’re making progress on rolling funding to clean up oil & gas sites through the Site Rehabilitation Program.

We’re also going to engage Indigenous people to ensure they can meaningfully participate in this billion dollar program.https://t.co/Z5ssGnGCA6 pic.twitter.com/6F7dXVMAe1

— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) July 15, 2020

The SRP has given out $69 million in grants to 140 companies since it launched in May, according to the province.

A total of $1 billion will be spent on the work over three years.

"This is one of the most unique partnerships that you'll ever see and I thank the province for doing it in such a timely fashion," Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and Chief of Enoch Cree Nation Billy Morin said. "I thank them very much for doing work at the speed of business for First Nations."