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UPDATE: 23,771 say ‘don’t close the ELA’

The Coalition to Save ELA was on Parliament Hill today to let it be known that 23,771 people have signed their petition opposing Harper’s plan to close the Experimental Lakes Area program.

The Council of Canadians – water campaigner Emma Lui, organizing assistant Philippe Charbonneau, and I – were there to support their effort.

The Experimental Lakes Area consists of 58 lakes and their watersheds in northern Ontario and is dedicated to whole-ecosystem research. It is seen as a world-class institution for understanding global threats to freshwater lakes and has conducted scientific investigations ranging from the impacts of chemical contamination to the effects of climate change on lakes. In May 2012, the Harper government announced that it would close the ELA by April 2013 as a cost-cutting measure, despite the program’s modest annual budget (about $2.1 million).

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, “The Experimental Lakes Area is a world-class, living, outdoor laboratory where scientists have studied how to protect freshwater for decades. The Harper government is shaming Canadians in the eyes of the world and killing a major gift to water science at the very moment we are really beginning to understand the depth of the global water crisis.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the Harper government’s intention to close the Experimental Lakes Area and will be working with friends and allies in the months remaining before April 2013 to save this scientific safeguard for freshwater lakes.

To add your name to the Coalition to Save ELA petition, please go to http://saveela.org/public-petition/.