Questions raised about new oilsands monitoring plan
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent unveiled a sweeping oilsands monitoring plan on Thursday, but there were quick calls for development to slow while the environmental results are tabulated - and some question who will be picking up the $50 million yearly tab for the program.
As Kent formally announced his "world-class" federal monitoring system for water, air and biodiversity - to be jointly administered with Alberta scientists and bureaucrats - the minister assured reporters that industry is prepared to cover the costs of the program. He added that's what his government expects.
"Fifty million dollars to most of us represents a very large amount of money. But against an industry that is expected to generate $80 billion next year, it's a very small price to pay," the minister said in Ottawa.
However, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers president David Collyer said shortly afterwards that it's "premature to indicate that industry would be happy to pick up the cost." Collyer said better scientific information is good for everyone involved, and he hopes to see the proposed monitoring systems both Alberta and Ottawa blended into one program.
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