EDMONTON — Jennifer Grant, director of the Pembina Institute’s oilsands program, made the following statement in response to the new joint Canada-Alberta implementation plan for oilsands monitoring:
“The need to improve monitoring of the environmental impacts of oilsands production has been widely recognized, and it’s promising to see that this plan commits to transparency and accessibility and is based on technically-sound information.
“It’s very positive that more pollutants will be tracked, and that the area monitored is being expanded to include downstream and downwind regions. But better monitoring is only one piece of the puzzle.
“The government’s regulatory capacity and commitment to actually manage environmental impacts continues to lag behind the pace and scale of new oilsands development, and new projects continue to be approved even though we don’t have enough information to understand the impacts. That is not responsible management.
“For example, the federal government has witnessed the steady decline of woodland caribou herds in the oilsands region for years, but has failed to take the necessary actions to protect the species as the population declines and risks being eliminated from the oilsands region.
“A scientifically credible monitoring plan provides a strong foundation for improved environmental management of oilsands development, and we look forward to working with government to ensure it’s used as the basis for informed decision-making and action to address environmental impacts.”
Oilsands Program Director, Pembina Institute
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Communications manager, Pembina Institute