February 5, 2007

Environmental expert to assist in review of Turner Valley gas plant as historic resource

Dr Wilfried Staudt, a risk assessment specialist in the Calgary office of SNC-Lavalin/Morrow Environmental, has been appointed to the Turner Valley Gas Plant resolution advisory panel to assist in its review of the Alberta government's efforts to clean up the gas plant and provide advice on the future of the historic site. He is a professional geologist who has a doctorate in geochemistry and brings 12 years of experience to the project.

"Dr Staudt's experience and knowledge about contaminated sites, particularly as it relates to the oil and gas industry in western Canada, will be a great asset to the panel," said Hector Goudreau, Minister of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture. The Minister named Dr Staudt to the panel on the recommendation of its other 11 members.

The advisory panel was appointed in April 2006 and assigned the task of advising Minister of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture as to whether the Turner Valley gas plant merits designation as a provincial historic resource under the Historical Resources Act. The members, who represent the local communities and stakeholder groups, are serving on a voluntary basis for a term that runs to January 2008, unless the term is extended by the Minister.

The panel has a challenging task with close to 20 years of studies, development plans and changing environmental standards to review. The group has already met five times since May 2006 to develop and begin carrying out a work plan. So far, the panel has reviewed the background of the historic site project and the Alberta government's involvement, the reclamation work completed to date, the resources available to the members and the current flood prevention/containment system project underway at the gas plant site.

The panel has also made a number of site visits to review the flood protection work and to view the construction, currently in progress, of the $5-million containment and water treatment system. This system is designed to prevent hydrocarbons and other contaminants from flowing off site and into the Sheep River.

The panel has begun a systematic review of the risk management approach and the mitigation work undertaken to date in consultation with Alberta Environment, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, and the Calgary Health Region.

The plant is the earliest and best surviving example of a gas plant in Canada. The Alberta government acquired the site in 1988. It was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 1989 and a National Historic Site in 1995. More information is available on-line at www.turnervalley.gov.ab.ca.

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