Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project - Establishment of Joint Review Panel

OTTAWA, May 24, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Jim Ellis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator, announced today the establishment of a three-member joint panel to review Teck Resources Limited's proposed Frontier Oil Sands Mine project in northern Alberta.

Mr. Alex Bolton has been appointed as the Chair of the Joint Review Panel. Mr. Robert McManus and Mr. William (Bill) Klassen have been appointed as members of the Joint Review Panel.

In light of the devastating wildfires that have affected the residents and Indigenous groups in the Fort McMurray area, the Minister has extended the timeline by three months for the Joint Review Panel to submit its report. This extension will allow the Joint Review Panel to begin its preparatory work while postponing the start of Indigenous and public engagement activities until the situation in the region improves.

The Joint Review Panel Agreement signed by Minister McKenna and Mr. Ellis establishes the mandate and terms of reference of the panel, its composition, as well as the procedure and timelines of the review.

Under the Agreement, the Joint Review Panel will conduct a review of the environmental effects of the project, consider mitigation measures, determine whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse effects, and identify any follow-up programs required. The Joint Review Panel will also consider comments from the public and Indigenous groups that are received during the assessment.

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Frontier Oil Sands Mine Project
Establishment of Joint Review Panel—Biographical Notes


Mr. Alex Bolton—Panel Chair

Alex Bolton is a professional geoscientist with 30 years of diverse technical and management experience in the energy, government, and consulting sectors. Mr. Bolton was appointed chief hearing commissioner for the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in June 2014. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Bolton served as a hearing commissioner with the AER and as a board member of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB).

Although he began his career as an exploration geologist in the oil and gas industry, he has spent the majority of his career working on environmental, regulatory, and stakeholder issues associated with resource development activities. He has held environmentally focused positions with senior energy producers Home Oil and Anderson Exploration and has experience in developing and implementing policies and programs to improve performance in the areas of environmental auditing and regulatory compliance, environmental monitoring, environmental impact assessment, and contaminated sites management.

Before joining the ERCB in 2010, Mr. Bolton was the president and founder of Epicentre Consulting Inc., where he developed and managed regulatory compliance and environmental strategies to support a variety of energy development projects.

Between 2001 and 2005, Mr. Bolton served as the director of Compliance & Enforcement with the Natural Resources Conservation Board in Alberta. He was responsible for developing and implementing a province-wide compliance monitoring and enforcement program for intensive livestock operations under new provincial legislation.

Mr. Bolton has successfully worked with a broad range of stakeholders including land owners, Indigenous and northern communities, municipalities, provincial, territorial and federal government departments and agencies, and non-governmental organizations. While supporting oil and gas exploration programs in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, he was responsible for leading government, community, and Indigenous consultation activities, including the negotiation of impact and benefit agreements with First Nations.

Mr. Bolton has experience conducting fair, transparent, and independent public hearings and ensuring the quality of regulatory decisions. He is a member of the Canadian Council of Administrative Tribunals and has participated on and chaired hearing panels considering a wide range of energy projects, including conventional oil and gas, pipeline, coal mining, and oil sands projects. He has participated on joint provincial-federal review panels and has significant experience considering the social, environmental, and economic effects of projects, including the effects on Indigenous treaty rights and traditional land use.

Mr. Bolton is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta and has a bachelor of science in earth sciences and a master of management science with a specialization in the management of technology, both from the University of Waterloo. In addition, Mr. Bolton has completed the public executive program at Queen's University's School of Business.

Mr. Robert McManus—Panel Member

With more than 25 years of environmental management, regulatory, public consultation, and Indigenous engagement experience in Canada's energy sector, Mr. McManus currently holds the role of hearing commissioner with the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Previously, as a Board Member of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), Mr. McManus provided input, advice, direction and approval for ERCB regulations and regulatory policy development; conducted public hearings and inquiries; and ensured the quality of regulatory decisions in accordance with legislation. Amongst other duties, he also provided strategic, governance and business oversight of the ERCB, including approval of the strategic and business plans.

Prior to his time at the Board of the ERCB, Mr. McManus was the president of Fulcrum Consulting where he provided strategic environmental, regulatory, communication and stakeholder-engagement services to many high-profile clients in the energy industry—including Enmax, Alberta Energy, Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, ConocoPhillips and numerous others. He worked on a variety of projects ranging from developing and implementing a consultation program for AltaLink's Griffith Woods electrical transmission facility rebuild, the Kinder Morgan Anchor Loop Pipeline Project through Jasper National Park, establishing an Indigenous engagement program for the Town of Strathmore's Wastewater Effluent Project, to preparing recommendations for oil and gas policy development for the City of Edmonton, and working with the World Bank in China on their oil and gas regulatory framework.

Other notable positions held by Mr. McManus include his time as the Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission; and key environmental and regulatory positions with Gulf Canada Resources, Shell Canada, Calpine Canada, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, respectively.

Mr. McManus holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Environmental Design, with a specialty in Environmental Science. He's also completed the Executive Development Program at Queen's University, as well as Environmental Mediation and Negotiation Training at Willamette University Law School and the Banff Centre's School of Management.

Mr. William (Bill) Klassen—Panel Member

Mr. Klassen is a natural resources consultant with extensive experience in natural resource management and environmental assessment in northern Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and obtained a Master of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Mr. Klassen has lived and worked in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Alaska for more than 40 years. He has also worked in the Russian Far East. He served as both Deputy Minister of Renewable Resources (now Environment) and Deputy Minister of Health and Human Resources (now Health and Social Services) for the Yukon Government. He was the federal member on the Trusteed Environmental Fund Board for the Anvil Range Mine. Mr. Klassen served as the Chair of the Yukon Workers Compensation Occupational Health and Safety Board and as a member of the Yukon Police Council. He has consulted to federal and territorial government agencies, First Nations governments and the private sector on a wide range of projects. He has facilitated the engagement of Indigenous and other communities on a number of resource development projects.

Mr. Klassen has broad experience with environmental assessment in northern Canada, including environmental reviews of large scale open pit mining operations. He represented the Yukon government in negotiations that resulted in the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act being passed. He chaired the Environmental Impact Screening Committee, the committee that screens all development projects for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the western Arctic. He also served as Yukon's member of the Environmental Impact Review Board for the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Mr. Klassen was also a member of the CEAA review panel for the proposed Prosperity Mine.

Mr. Klassen resides on a small farm just outside of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.


SOURCE Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

For further information: Media Relations, Caitlin Workman, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-9436; Lucille Jamault, Communications, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency,, Twitter: @CEAA_ACEE ; Bob Curran, Director, Public Affairs, Alberta Energy Regulator, 403-297-3392,, Twitter: @AER_news


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