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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Saskatchewan

DECISION ON PROPOSED ATHABASCA REGION SEASONAL ROAD

Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) Minister Lorne
Scott today announced his approval under The Environmental Assessment
Act for the Department of Highways and Transportation to proceed with
the development of a seasonal road from Points North Landing to Black
Lake, Saskatchewan (in the Lake Athabasca region).

The Canadian Coast Guard, which is part of the Federal Department of
Fisheries and Oceans, has decided to discontinue dredging and aids to
navigation on the Athabasca River in Alberta, and aids to navigation on
Lake Athabasca. This decision has the potential to make the current
barging service which supplies the communities in the Lake Athabasca
region unreliable. Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation requested
approval from the minister to construct the road to provide an
alternative means of supply to the region.

Under The Environmental Assessment Act, the minister is required to
review proposed developments to determine whether the potential
environmental impacts are acceptable. After a careful review of the
public submissions on the project's environmental impact statement
(EIS) as well as the government's technical review, the minister
announced he is approving the development subject to terms and
conditions.

"I am confident that the terms and conditions of my approval address
the environmental and resource issues related to the road," Scott said.
"In addition, I have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with local
First Nations that initiates a process to monitor and manage land and
renewable resources that may be affected by the seasonal road."

This process will be developed and sustained by local First Nations,
northern municipalities, the office of Northern Affairs, the
environment department and other stakeholders.

The minister's approval requires the Department of Highways and
Transportation to:

submit reports that indicate the extent to which mitigation and
environmental protection measures are being followed and involve the
local public in developing these reports;

adhere to the environmental protection measures presented in
highway's EIS; and

submit detailed engineering design drawings for all stream
crossings.

The minister's decision deals only with the environmental issues
related to the seasonal road, which is located entirely within
Saskatchewan. The provincial assessment process was co-ordinated with
the federal environmental assessment process which encompassed the
review of the Coast Guard's decision to discontinue dredging and aids
to navigation services as well as the review of potential impacts from
the seasonal road.

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For further information or to obtain copies of the decision and the
statement of reasons for the decision, contact:

Diane Livingston
Environmental Assessment Branch
Room 142, 3211 Albert Street
Regina, Sk S4S 5W6
Phone: (306) 787-5793

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