Kitimat Airshed Group promotes collaboration on air quality

KAG – Media Release
January 15, 2021

The Kitimat Airshed Group, a new independent entity that aims to facilitate communications and collaboration on air quality between local stakeholders, has officially launched.
The KAG is composed of representatives from the District of Kitimat, the Haisla Nation, Rio Tinto, LNG Canada, Kitimat Chamber of Commerce, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Unifor2301, Northern Health, Kitimat Terrace Clean Air Coalition, and members of the communities of Kitimat, Terrace, and surrounding First Nations. The newly formed group has adopted a consent-based decision-making process. Its mission is to provide air quality education to support public awareness of
timely, representative, and scientific monitoring data, to promote clean air for the health, wellbeing and safety of people and the environment, and to provide input to the regulatory decision-making process.
The Kitimat Airshed Group held its first formal meeting in October 2020 and will continue to meet on a regular basis. Its main objectives for the next few months include completing an initial air monitoring network review and monitoring plan, conducting a network gap analysis and developing a website to ensure the public has access to trusted and understandable air quality information.
Rio Tinto BC Works general manager Affonso Bizon said “The creation of the Kitimat Airshed Group brings together a variety of perspectives and expertise on air quality. By working together, I’m confident that we can make air quality information more accessible and support science-based decision-making in the best interest of our people and our environment.”
Emily Toews and Lis Stannus, appellants of the SO2 Environmental Effects Monitoring program also mentioned “We are encouraged that the Kitimat Airshed Group will provide reliable data, will work towards third party air quality management, and will be able to keep people living within the airshed informed about air quality events and provide public outreach. After six years of inquiry into the collection of data and concerns about air quality in the Terrace Kitimat-Valley airshed, we believe that this group creates a positive environment to address concerns moving forward.”
Rio Tinto, LNG Canada, the District of Kitimat and the Haisla Nation each have a held seat in the Kitimat Airshed Group’s Governance Committee, whereas Unifor2301, local businesses, citizens and NGOs are elected members. Individuals and organizations, resident within the airshed or with a demonstrated professional interest in air quality in the airshed, may apply to be a general member of the Kitimat Airshed Group by contacting kitimatairshedgroup@gmail.com. The airshed is currently defined to
include District of Kitimat (geographic extent to be defined through upcoming network review).
The KAG is also in the process of seeking an individual or organization to provide the services of a Secretariat to the group. For information on the RFP please see: http://bit.ly/SecretariatRFP

Notes to the editor:
• The formation of the group was a condition to the July 2019 settlement agreement between Rio Tinto, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Elisabeth Stannus, Emily Toews and Unifor2301
• LNG Canada is currently under construction and will not contribute industrial emissions until plant commissioning and start up mid-decade.
Media Contacts:
Shawn Zettler and Lis Stannus, kitimatairshedgroup@gmail.com

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