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Council of Canadians decry oil industry influence on ELA closure

The Council of Canadians is expressing alarm over the hiring of a founder of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers to provide advice on the closure of the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA).

“We are appalled that the Conservative government is taking advice from the oil industry, which has a vested interest in silencing the research conducted by the Experimental Lakes Area,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Tens of thousands of people demanded that the ELA remain open under federal oversight, but it is the oil industry that the federal government ended up seeking advice from.”

A 2012 Environics Research poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians showed that 60% of Conservative voters opposed the cancellation of federal funding for the Experimental Lakes Area research centre. Overall, 73% of Canadians oppose the cutting of funding for the ELA, with 42% strongly opposed to the cuts.

“The latest budget bill that left 99% of lakes and waters unprotected and cancelled 3,000 environmental assessments was also made under the influence of the oil industry,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “This is a disturbing trend we’re seeing where the federal government is allowing the oil industry to encroach into public policies that should be made in the public interest, not to grease the regulatory wheels for energy companies.”

The Council of Canadians applauds the Ontario and Manitoba government’s move to save the Experimental Lakes Area by following through on the necessary funding to keep the research centre open. However, the Council of Canadians continues to call on the Conservative government to reinstate federal funding for the ELA.

-30- | Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs

Save the ELA
Photo: Mark Calzavara makes a creative message beside Lake 222 at the Experimental Lakes Area in northern Ontario, March 2013