Pembina Reacts to Lower Athabasca Water Quality Monitoring Plan

March 24, 2011

Jennifer Grant, director of the Pembina Institute's oilsands program, made the following statement in response to the Federal Lower Athabasca Water Quality Monitoring Plan:
 
"This plan is a good step toward providing a credible foundation for the monitoring of the Athabasca River downstream from the oilsands. We hope this plan signals that the federal government is willing to meet its obligations to ensure that oilsands development occurs responsibly and in accordance with Canadians' expectations.

"An effective monitoring system is a necessary component of responsible management of oilsands development, but monitoring alone is not sufficient. There is already plenty of independent evidence of water pollution associated with oilsands development. To date, management decisions for the oilsands have been made on the flawed assumption that there is no evidence of negative impacts. It is now time for the Government of Canada to outline a plan for how regulation of the oilsands industry will be improved.

"Today's report concludes that 'the current monitoring system did not deliver data of sufficient quantity or quality to detect or quantify the effects of oil sands development,' yet Federal Cabinet is likely to grant approval for the Total Joslyn mine, despite the fact that its environmental assessment was premised upon this insufficient data. Based on this report it would be prudent to delay approval until sufficient data has been collected to assess the level of impact of oilsands development on the Athabasca River."

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Contact:

Jennifer Grant
Oilsands Program Director, Pembina Institute
Phone: 403-538-7781

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