Industry to pay for oilsands monitor: federal official saysPosted: March 25, 2011
Mike De Souza, Postmedia News, OTTAWA — The oilsands sector will be expected to pay up for a new water quality monitoring system that was to be unveiled on Thursday by Environment Minister Peter Kent.
"Clearly we'll move on the monitoring issue and it's going to have to be paid for one way or the other," said Kent's spokesman, Bill Rodgers.
The measures to be announced follow up on a pledge made in late December by former environment minister John Baird to address "significant" flaws in the monitoring system for water pollution from the oilsands sector.
At the time, Baird said the government would deliver its plan within 90 days after a panel of independent experts said that the existing industry-led system was inadequate on the heels of other independent reports that said regulators and industry were failing to address environmental and health concerns linked to pollution from the oilsands industry.
"We believe that unless these shortcomings are addressed, the debate on the environmental performance in the oilsands will continue to revolve around the adequacy of the data collected and not, as it should be, on data interpretation and implications," said the panel in its report.
"Until this situation is fixed there will continue to be uncertainty and public distrust in the environmental performance of the oilsands industry and government oversight."
No details about government funding for inspections and enforcement, related to the new plan were unveiled this week in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget. Rodgers said Kent would address the funding issues on Thursday afternoon.