Canada: Water pollution law meant to assist oilsands
OTTAWA — New laws offering the government more tools to “authorize” water pollution appear to be designed to remove obstacles for expansion of Canada’s oilpatch, says a Liberal MP from Montreal who spearheaded a parliamentary investigation into the environmental footprint of the oilsands.
“I just found it curious that they’re trying to hide their motive,” said Francis Scarpaleggia, the Liberal water critic. “This is all being done for the oilsands. It’s not being done for the pulp and paper industry. They have their house in order.”
Scarpaleggia made the comments in response to recent Postmedia News reports about a letter signed by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield that explained the government was amending the Canada’s Fisheries Act, previously considered to be the country’s strongest environmental protection law, in order to make it easier to “authorize” water pollution.
Scarpaleggia said that some mining companies are using existing provisions of legislation that allow the federal government to authorize them to dump tailings waste into lakes or other bodies of water with fish, when they take other steps to mitigate the damage.
But he said that the problem is more complicated to solve for oilsands companies following research led by University of Alberta scientist, David Schindler, who found that air pollution from oilsands operations were polluting water in a peer-reviewed study that examined snow samples.
The new environmental legislation adopted this year allows the environment minister to introduce new regulations to authorize pollution and enter into agreements with provincial governments to monitor bodies of water without current levels of federal oversight. Other changes weaken some existing protection of habitat for endangered species, while restricting the ability of some Canadians to participate in environmental reviews of proposed projects.
Scarpaleggia also questioned whether the government could adequately monitor impacts of air pollution on water after millions of dollars worth of cuts to scientific monitoring and research, including the dismantling a unit of smokestack pollution specialists with expertise in measuring harmful emissions.
Original source article: Water pollution law meant to assist oilsands: Liberal MP
- Water pollution law designed to remove obstacles for oilsands: Liberal MP (vancouversun.com)
- Harper minister ducks questions on plan to “authorize” water pollution (o.canada.com)
- Conservation Law Foundation sues over water pollution (bizjournals.com)
- Santa Clara Valley Water District under investigation for violating water-pollution laws (mercurynews.com)
- Budget offers new tools to “authorize” water pollution, says Harper minister (canada.com)
- Feds favour “responsible” growth in oilsands over sustainability: Documents (canada.com)
- Budget cuts threaten federal green plan for oilsands and coal: scientist (canada.com)
- Producers find greener way to extract oil from oilsands (lfpress.com)
- Conservation Law sues firms over water pollution (bizjournals.com)
- GMO Farming, Glyphosate Significant Causes of Water Pollution (activistpost.com)
- Mulcair, Oliver spar over NDP leader’s Alberta trip (cbc.ca)
- Tour of “massive” oilsands shows need for proper management: Mulcair (vancouversun.com)
- Mulcair stands by his oilsands views after Alta. visit (ctv.ca)
- Mercury contaminating bird eggs in oilsands region: Environment Canada (vancouversun.com)
- Deformed Fish A Product Of Oilsands, Says First Nation (huffingtonpost.ca)
- The Gem of Canadian Science that Harper Killed (in Opinion) (thetyee.ca)
- Budget cuts threaten federal green plan for oilsands and coal: scientist (junkscience.com)
- NDP leader Thomas Mulcair takes aim at oilsands (calgaryherald.com)
- Mulcair’s position largely unchanged after oilsands tour (cbc.ca)
- Monitoring program will test sustainability of oilsands, says scientist (canada.com)
- Budget cuts threaten federal green plan for oilsands and coal: scientist (calgaryherald.com)
- Tim Hudak: Ontario should develop Ring of Fire like oilsands (thestar.com)
- Mulcair puts environment back on plate (lfpress.com)
- Mercury contaminating bird eggs in oilsands region: Environment Canada (theprovince.com)
- Mercury contaminating bird eggs in oilsands region: Environment Canada. (vancouverdesi.com)
- Enbridge can’t say if federal cuts would undermine oil spill response (theprovince.com)
- Mulcair confident ahead of first visit to Alta. oilsands (ctv.ca)
- Oilsands profits inflated by lax environmental policing: Mulcair (junkscience.com)
- NDP Leader Tom Mulcair to visit Alberta oilsands (cbc.ca)
- Survey highlights east-west divide on oilsands (blogs.calgaryherald.com)
- Canada suffering from unique ‘Dutch disease’ dubbed ‘oilsands fever’ by Alberta group (calgaryherald.com)