Alberta government said it is creating a scientific agency to monitor the environmental impacts of tarsands production as the industry seeks to expand its markets into regions that are increasingly critical of the process by Jeffrey Jones, Reuters, October 17, 2012, Scientific American
The Alberta government said on Wednesday it is creating a scientific agency to monitor the environmental impacts of oil sands production as the industry seeks to expand its markets into regions that are increasingly critical of the process. The body, to be funded by a combination of public and industry money, will eventually provide oversight for all of the Western Canadian province, but the initial focus will be on the tar sands-rich Lower Athabasca region. The government described the new unit as providing “credible” and “arms-length” (or independent) research, though officials said on Wednesday it will answer to Environment Minister Diana McQueen and the scientific information it produces will be sent to her before it is released to the public.
“The independent part comes about when we are taking a look at the science information, and saying: based on some of this evidence, what decision should be made in complex tasks. And that’s where we would certainly give the advice to the minister,” said Howard Tennant, a former University of Lethbridge president who will lead the agency’s management board. The move by the Conservative government of Premier Alison Redford is the latest in a series of responses to scientific studies and a federal report that have concluded the northern Alberta region, which encompasses the oil sands, needs to be more closely monitored for contamination as development booms. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to: Tennant to head enviro monitoring panel