Showing posts with label water quality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water quality. Show all posts

Monday, January 30, 2012

Non Reporting of Aboriginals Water Treatment Plant Needs

It is no longer possible to ignore the rights of Canada's aboriginals, now that they are crucial to much needed land access.  Long ghetoized and ignored in poverty and government neglect, their story of inequality has become a cause célèbre in the environmental issues of Canadian water rights.

“The report released today is shocking in that it reveals the quality of drinking water in First Nation communities is even worse than anticipated,” said the National Chief.  “More than half the water systems our people are using are risky systems.  While First Nations have been calling attention to this matter for years, today’s report should spark swift and urgent action to ensure the health and safety of our people.  Other Canadians would not tolerate this situation in their communities and we must not tolerate it in First Nation communities.” Assembly of First Nations 
Results for Alberta from Statistics Canada 

Contamination of Aboriginal Water is a Human Rights issue.  They own the land.  They must have water rights and water treatment plants that ensure healthy living on that land.  To neglect this fact is a sure method to extinguish the number of peoples who can live on reserves.  The government has for years walked away from water treatment projects by saying that there are no roads to access in order to build the plants.  Whereas there are no such excuses for not continuing to drill and push huge hulking machinery into the remotest regions of the Yukon in pursuit of minerals.

As anti fracking communities are gaining traction in the US with help of the EPA, shouldn't it now be time for investment into the north with Environment Canada water standards, water treatment, clean water standards and followup with action? And shouldn't environmental lawyers be lining up in droves to support Aboriginal water claims pro bono to fight for Aboriginal ownership of water on their land? 

Read Turtle Island News for the latest points of view from communities opposing such inaction and for true reporting from an Aboriginal perspective.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Water Quality is Not Being Monitored, Seriously Under Reported

  • Why did it take three months for the results to reach the desk of John Baird and why isn't he responding to questions about the study?
  • Why is a perfectly credible study not being taken for its perfectly credible results and recommendations?  The study is comprised of cross panel of Aboriginal, industry, scientific and environmental contributors. 
  • Why have recommendations from 2004 not been taken?

The Athabasca River Basin

At 159,000 km square kilometers, the Athabasca River Basin (the area in green ) is the world’s third-largest watershed. The basin contains 94 rivers, 150 named creeks, and 153 lakes, and contains 4 of Alberta, Canada’s 6 natural regions: Rocky Mountain, Foothills, Boreal Forests, and Canadian Shield. Topographically, the region includes ecosystems as varied as snow-capped mountains, boreal forest, and wetlands. Due to the diverse habitats the basin supports, it is recognized as one of the most diverse, and therefore essential, providers of ecosystem services in the world.

Yet water monitoring has been entirely mismanaged by the tar sands industry, neglected by the Alberta government and highly under reported in the media.

A December 2009 campaign blog notes that the Canadian Press reported: “(A) study (that suggests pollution from Alberta’s oilsands is nearly five times greater and twice as widespread as industry figures say).  Full verification can be found in an American publication  Proceedings of National Academy of Science, and also criticizes Alberta’s monitoring program. ‘Our study confirms the serious defects of the (regional aquatic monitoring program),’ it says. ‘More than 10 years of inconsistent sampling design, inadequate statistical power and monitoring-insensitive responses have missed major sources of (contamination) to the Athabasca watershed. …(David) Schindler said nothing has changed in the province’s monitoring program since it was criticized in a 2004 review.” E & E News adds that, “The (Alberta) government has relied in part on the industry-funded joint Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) to monitor aquatic ecosystems near the oil sands sites. But RAMP lacks scientific oversight and keeps its methods and its data confidential, the study said. …RAMP has not measured PACs for several years after its tests revealed little or no water pollution, Schindler said. …RAMP should submit to oversight by an independent board of experts and make its data available for public scrutiny, the authors said.”

Environment Canada's Twitter page:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Environment Canada has not fulfilled its reporting obligations under the Canada Water Act

2.75 Under the Canada Water Act, Environment Canada is required to prepare an annual report to Parliament “on the operations under this Act.” We found that, from 2004 to 2009, the Department did not submit annual reports to Parliament as required under the Act. For example, the reports for the period 2006 to 2009 were submitted in 2010. The report for the year ending 31 March 2010 has yet to be submitted to Parliament. In addition, departments are required to submit annual departmental performance reports to Parliament on the performance of their programs. We found that information on key aspects of program performance and results for these two programs were not included in Environment Canada’s Departmental Performance Reports.

Source: Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (2010). 2010 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. Chapter 2: Monitoring Water Resources. Ottawa: Office of the Auditor General of Canada.