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NAFTAs environmental arm demands Canada explain oilsands tailings leaks

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first_imgOTTAWA – The environmental arm of NAFTA is demanding Canada explain what it is doing to stop oilsands tailings ponds from leaking into Alberta waterways.The request comes in a decision by the commission which oversees the North American Agreement on Environmental Co-operation, a parallel agreement to NAFTA signed by Canada, the United States and Mexico.Canada has until Sept. 28 to officially respond to allegations it is failing to enforce the Fisheries Act by allowing contaminants from the ponds to leak into water without forcing the companies involved to fix the problem.The complaint was made in June by Canada’s Environmental Defence group and the Natural Resources Defense Council based in the United States.Environmental Defence executive director Tim Gray says studies have suggested as much as 11 million litres of tailings water containing substances like benzene, arsenic and cyanide leaks into the Athabasca River every day.A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the government will work with the commission to respond to the request and expects this to be resolved soon.“Our government takes the protection of water very seriously,” Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers said in an e-mail.“We are proud of our world-class, joint oilsands monitoring system we have with the government of Alberta.”NAFTA’s environment annex allows non-governmental organizations and citizens of the three countries to submit complaints alleging their government is failing to enforce its environmental laws and regulations.The commission has 30 days to decide if a complaint warrants a response from the government involved.The request for a response from Canada means the commission found the complaint was submitted by legitimate organizations which offered science-based evidence for their complaints and that it was intended to promote enforcement of environmental law rather than simply harass industry.Gray said the commission’s request for a response is a sign that the complaint appears legitimate, so far.“They’re saying, based on the evidence presented to them and their legal review, it looks like the Canadian government isn’t enforcing the Fisheries Act and they want to know what the Canadian government thinks about that,” he said.While the deadline for a government response is Sept. 28, it could request an extension until Nov. 10.After Canada responds, the commission will determine whether to produce a public factual record of the matter. That record does not include recommendations or conclusions.However, Gray said the record can be used as a court document and if the case gets to that point, Environmental Defence could sue the Canadian government with the intent of forcing it to enforce its own laws.This is the second time these groups have made such a submission to the commission. The first time it was tossed out because there was a court challenge underway in Canada about the same thing, which disqualifies a complaint under the environment agreement.That court challenge was ultimately thrown out by a judge in Alberta.Ben Brunnen, vice president of oilsands, fiscal and economic policy for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said in a statement it was up to Canada to respond directly to the case.“Numerous measures are in place to ensure the safe operation of tailings ponds,” said Brunnen. “Alberta law requires all land disturbed by oil sands operations be reclaimed, including tailings ponds.”last_img read more

Commonwealth Bank Director Clifford Culmer Retires after 25 Years Service

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first_img Related Items: Mr. Culmer, a chartered accountant, had served on the board for a total of 25 years. In his second term, 1998-2016, he was chairman of the audit committee.“As Chairman of the Audit Committee, he has served on the Board in a position with one of the greatest demands, which he has done with strength, wisdom and integrity,” said William B. Sands, Jr. Chairman of Commonwealth Bank. “There is no doubt that the Audit Committee, under his leadership, has sharpened Management’s skills over the years and made us a stronger bank.”Co-director and Chairman of the Board’s Nominating Committee Rupert Roberts Jr. described Culmer’s work as “an immeasurable contribution” and co-director Dr. Marcus Bethel said Culmer’s contributions during the 32-year history of the Bahamian bank were unparalleled. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppAmidst moving tributes and a standing ovation at the bank’s annual general meeting earlier this month, long-time Commonwealth Bank Director Clifford Culmer stepped down as a director after more than two decades of helping to steer the successful bank from infancy to a $1.5 billion financial powerhouse.“Cliff has left a legacy for the rest of us to follow,” Dr. Marcus Bethel said. The moving and emotional tributes from co-directors drew a spontaneous standing ovation for Culmer by the packed audience of shareholders at Breezes.last_img read more

TCI Hospital update on resumption of clinical services and chiller system

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first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, November 3, 2017 – Providenciales – While 95% of clinical services offered at both TCI Hospital medical centers have resumed following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September, the restoration of other departments with temperature-sensitive equipment is dependent upon the stabilization of the hospital’s chiller systems.The chiller system at Cockburn Town Medical Centre on Grand Turk has now been fully repaired and is operating within the standards of the building.   As a result, the Operating Theatre can now accommodate elective surgeries, and most of the remaining routine services currently in emergency mode at the facility will resume shortly.   Appointments for elective surgeries and other procedures will be rescheduled.The chiller system for Cheshire Hall Medical Centre arrived at the health care facility on Thursday, 02 November 2017.   The installation and commissioning is projected to span three days.   Therefore, the full restoration of 100% cooling capacity is expected by next week. Overseas engineers have arrived in country to assist local teams in the installation process.   The industrial chiller system arrived on island inside a 40 foot container.A 60 ton crane was sourced to offload the system.   The chiller generates 370 tons of cubic cooling for the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre facility, which spans 11,500 square meters in size.   Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on Providenciales is the largest of the two medical facilities.   An additional chiller system has also been ordered.   However, the newly arrived system operates within the standards of the building and exclusively produces the cooling capacity required.As a precautionary measure and in accordance with strict patient safety and quality control processes, water quality tests related to culture, sensitivity and endotoxins are being conducted overseas to analyze the quality of the main water supply and ensure there is no bacterial contamination as a result of recent storms.The test results/report is due to arrive on 06 November 2017. In the meantime, Dialysis patients from Grand Turk are still being transferred to Providenciales for same day treatments at Cheshire Hall Medical Centre with assistance from the National Health Insurance Board.Laboratory tests require an incubation period to allow any organisms to grow along with additional testing.   Renal Dynamics, a United States company specializing in dialysis systems, conduct routine maintenance for TCI Hospital Hemodialysis machines, which include a review of water quality records to ensure the best and safest possible care for patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.Water is an essential component in the administration of in-patient haemodialysis, which uses up to 100 liters of water for each patient.   Each patient is dialyzed three time per week.During hemodialysis, a hemodialyzer, or artificial kidney, is used to filter fluids and wastes from a dialysis patient’s blood.  We continue to thank our patients for their understanding during our post hurricane recovery efforts.last_img read more