Environment Minister Peter Kent today issued a press release announcing an integrated monitoring plan for Canada’s oil sands region. The Government of Canada will be working with the Province of Alberta on implementing the plan.

“The oil sands represent a significant, long-term economic advantage for the people of Alberta, and all Canadians,” said Kent. “We must ensure that this resource is developed in a way that protects our air, our water and biodiversity for generations to come.”

The Government of Canada coordinated the development of the monitoring plan in collaboration with provincial, territorial, and academic scientists. This final plan includes components for monitoring air quality, biodiversity, and the next phase of water quality monitoring in the oil sands region.

The plan, states the release, will provide the scientific foundation necessary to provide governments and industry with the information that they need to continue to ensure the environmentally sustainable development of this important resource.

The plan follows a 2010 recommendation of an independent Oil Sands Advisory Panel, and was designed on the core principles recommended by the panel: holistic and comprehensive; scientifically rigorous; adaptive and robust; inclusive and collaborative; and, transparent and accessible.

“The expert reviewers believe this technical plan is sound and robust,” wrote panel chair Elizabeth Dowdeswell in a statement released today. “The panel notes however that the success or failure of the plan will now depend on timely, effective implementation. If implementation is approached with a similar level of ambition and scientific discipline, according to the principles enunciated above, the panel is of the view that the potential to have a world-class environmental monitoring system for this region will be realized.”

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The feds will working with the Province of Alberta and industry in developing strategies for implementing the plan.

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