Filed under: Animals & Nature, Issues & the Environment | Tags: alberta, athabasca river, canada, dangerous, edmonton, environment, rob renner, toxic pollutants
Toxic pollutants have been found in the Athabasca River in Edmonton, near oilsands sites, but luckily the pollutants are at “insignificant levels.” So naturally no one seems to be concerned. Including Alberta’s environmental minister, the Honourable Rob Renner.
Now old Lu may not be much for the book readin’ or the school learnin’ or even the word writin’ (clearly), but he has a few workable cells left in that old noggin’ of his, I tell you what. And sure, I’ll never be confused for a Bill Nye or a Bill Nighy in the smarts department, but I can at least come to one important conclusion.
Toxic = bad.
Again, I’m not an expert on science, or toxic pollutants, or even rivers, so I don’t want to make a big deal out of something that may in fact be nothing. If Alberta’s environmental minister wants to play down the the pollutants found in his province’s rivers, than who am I to question him?
I’m Lu Galasso, that’s who!
Renner, for his part, seems more or less nonplussed by the discovery of pollutants in his river – which seems odd to me, the layman, as anything that includes the word “toxic” seems like something you should get pretty plussed about.
“What we have to do is determine what are the levels at which we need to have some concern?” Renner said last week.
(For what it’s worth, my reply would be any levels, but what do I know?).
Renner continued by stating: “My scientists are telling me that the amount of compounds that can be detected in the Athabasca River at this point in time are not a concern and are of insignificant levels.”
(Again, no science guy here, but it seems to me that this would be the perfect time to show some concern. The smaller the levels, the easier to clean it up before it spirals out of control, no?).
Renner seems convinced that these toxic increases are naturally occurring, and balks at the idea of Environmental Canada – a federal agency – interfering, saying that “if there’s a need for us to improve the way we do the monitoring, then we don’t need to rely on Ottawa to do it for us.” Which is exactly the kind of delusional rhetoric and macho downplaying that makes him sound like the mayor of Amity in Jaws. And we all know how that turned out.
Scientists from the University of Alberta, led by David Schindler, disagree with Renner’s assessment, and feel that the oilsands are what’s impacting the river, and in a very negative way. Hopefully they resolve this issue, and convince Renner and the province that something needs to be done, before it’s to late for the Athabasca River.
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