Traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering grounds may have been affected by the July 20 Husky oil spill into the North Saskatchewan River.
Through an insurance claim process, First Nations who feel they can no longer trust the river's water to provide for themselves may receive compensation, according to Husky Energy.
“If they have a loss that’s incurred as part of this, they should be reaching out to our insurance company,” Husky's Mel Duvall said. “Any claim would have to be handled on a case-by-case basis.”
Husky has set up a toll free number and an information email in order to handle any claims related to the environment or personal loss.
The Saskatchewan government will not be handling any claims related to the oil spill, according to officials outside of the Sask. Party caucus retreat in Waskesiu. All environment claims are being directed towards Husky.
Oil within the river could have potentially damaging effects on the environment in the long term, according to Peter Prebble, the director of policy at the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.
“We’d be worried about contamination of sediments and that contamination making its way into the food chain,” Prebble said. “Some of it will have sunk into sediments. Hopefully not that much, but inevitably some will have based on the fact we’re talking about heavy crude.”
Husky recently sent off sediment samples from along the affected portions of the North Saskatchewan River for testing.
Over 200 First Nations are involved with the clean-up efforts from along the affected areas according to the company. Thunderchild First Nation has been an active member of the cleanup, along with members from the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Battleford Tribal Council.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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