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What is environmental management?

Environmental management in the oil sands region

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Environmental Impact Assessment

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is developed as part of the project permitting process, to predict potential effects of a project (both negative and positive) on the environment. Regulators review the predicted effects, and then recommend that a project be approved to proceed, rejected, or modified before proceeding, so that the positive effects of a project may be enhanced and negative effects may be mitigated and minimized. An EIA typically considers effects of a project both on the natural environment and on social conditions, and usually includes detailed technical studies as well as public involvement.. Residual effects and the cumulative impact of future projects (within 6 months of the EIA report submission) are also included in the EIA report.

In the oil sands region, an EIA may be administered through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act or as part of the provincial Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act depending on whether the project is regulated by federal or provincial law. In some cases the project may fall under by both acts, in which case it comes under The Canada-Alberta Agreement for Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

To learn more about the various acts and the steps of an EIA see:

The Federal Act

The Provincial Process

Policies and Initiatives



The Suncor Millenium Mine on the banks of the Athabasca River
Source: David Dodge, Copyright (c) 2005. The Pembina Institute.
( click to enlarge )

Shell Scotford Upgrader
Source: Shell Canada Ltd. (
( click to enlarge )

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