The Kearl oil sands mining project was subject to a joint review by provincial and federal government representatives and 16 days of public hearings in late 2006. The panel thoroughly reviewed various stakeholder concerns, such as: social and economic effects, mine plan and resource conservation, tailings management, reclamation, air emissions, surface water, aquatic resources, traditional land use and human health.
The Alberta government granted its approval of the project through an Order-in-Council in May 2007. Canada’s federal government followed with their approval through an Order-in Council in August 2007.
Subsequent to these approvals, the joint review panel report was challenged in the Federal Court of Canada by a coalition of environmental groups. In response, the panel reconvened to provide additional rationale for one of the report’s conclusions. Following that, the project received the necessary federal authorization in June 2008 to allow work to continue at the site.