Experts selected to lead oil sands monitoring

Vol 15, Issue 4, Leduc - Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer
Twelve independent experts from across North America have been chosen to help create a world-class environmental monitoring system for Alberta’s oil sands.

“I am committed to ensuring we have a robust, credible, and transparent environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting system in the province, beginning with the oil sands region,” said Rob Renner, Minister of Environment. “This extremely accomplished group of individuals, who have significant experience and wide-ranging expertise, will deliver on this important initiative.”

Leading the panel as co-chairs are Hal Kvisle and Howard Tennant. Both have extensive leadership experience. Kvisle is the former president and CEO of TransCanada Corporation, and Tennant is the former president and vice-chancellor of the University of Lethbridge. The remaining panel members represent a broad range of expertise from the scientific, academic, public administration, regulatory, and health fields.

"Albertans value and respect the extraordinary natural environment of this province, including the Athabasca River basin,” said Kvisle. "This panel is committed to creating a system to measure the environmental impacts of oil sands activity in a professional and transparent manner."

A world-class monitoring system requires appropriate governance and validation, credible data analysis from a science authority, transparent reporting via an information panel, and an exceptional physical monitoring network. The panel will focus on all of these aspects, as outlined in its terms of reference released in December.

Recommendations will be provided for a first-rate environmental monitoring system in northeastern Alberta that spans across all areas - air, land, water, and bio-diversity - and how such a system can expand throughout the province. The experts will also take into account the work and findings of the federal oil sands advisory panel, the joint government team now examining surface water quality monitoring, and the provincial data review currently underway.

The panel will report back to the Minister of Environment by June 2011.

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