June 18, 2007

Saskatchewan's first airshed association receives official launch

Saskatchewan Environment Minister John Nilson officially launched the province's first airshed association on June 6.

The Southeast Saskatchewan Airshed Association, a non-profit corporation, actually began operating in the spring of 2006 and has already completed a preliminary airshed study for an area in southeast Saskatchewan. The study includes an emissions inventory, data collection, airshed boundary determination and an overview of any major air quality related issues.

Twenty-eight passive air monitoring stations have been set up and one continuous air monitoring station is expected to begin operations this fall. These will collect comprehensive air quality data to meet the needs of the public, universities, non-government organizations and other governments.

The Association's current membership is made up of representatives from the agriculture, oil and gas, mining and power generation sectors, as well as the general public. The departments of Environment, Health, Industry and Resources also participate as members of the board of directors.

"By creating this association, the membership - made up of industry, government and community - is showing it is prepared to do its fair share to ensure the right information is available so that we can make informed decisions about our collective future and make life better for Saskatchewan families," said Nilson.

Bob Scotten, the Association's executive director, pointed out that, "This model of a consensus-based forum has proven successful in other jurisdictions and we hope to implement it in other regions of Saskatchewan. The ambient air quality data will provide a much needed management tool to help keep clean air clean."

The airshed approach to air quality management is a multi-stakeholder, consensus driven process that allows for the collection and open communication of credible continuous air quality data.

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