Former Alberta civil servant says leaving the Athabasca River unmonitored is ‘crazy’ – APTN News

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Former Alberta civil servant says leaving the Athabasca River unmonitored is ‘crazy’ – APTN News

by ahnationtalk on August 6, 2020104 Views

Alberta, Ottawa reduce tarsands environmental monitoring budget due to pandemic

A former civil servant in Alberta says changes to environmental monitoring for the tar sands including leaving the Athabasca River “unmonitored” is “crazy.”

Bill Donahue, a former bureaucrat with Alberta’s science and monitoring programs, said the tar sands are too big to leave alone.

“We’ve got one of the biggest industrial developments, the primary problems of which are contamination of the environment and consumption of water, and there’s no downstream monitoring,” Donahue told The Canadian Press.

Alberta has come to an agreement with the federal government that makes major cuts to environmental monitoring of the tarsands including watching what goes into the Athabasca River.

The deal, a copy of which has been obtained by The Canadian Press, lays out research plans for this year’s field season under a federal-provincial program that oversees all monitoring of the area outside of company leases.

Signed July 7 by top bureaucrats in Ottawa and Edmonton, it reduces funding by about 25 per cent from last year’s budget. This year’s budget has been cut to no more than $44 million. The approved budget was $58 million in 2019-20, although about $52 million was spent.

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