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Stop new oilsands development: scientists

A group of over 100 scientists from the United-States and Canada are calling for a moratorium on new oilsands development.

They gave a list of 10 reasons why new projects in the oilsands should be halted including environmental change, the violation of First Nations rights and a lack of proper environmental data.

“We’re not trying to pick on Alberta and we’re not trying to call for something that would put an end to oilsands operations,” said Dr. Wendy Palen, Biological Scientist, Simon Fraser University. “New production, new projects, new infrastructure projects, new additional oilsands production should be halted until the policies align better with international commitments to control the worst effects of climate change.”

The group includes scientists, economists, geophysicists, and biologists.

“Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, we offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oilsands projects,” reads the report. “[Our] ten reasons, each grounded in science, support our call for a moratorium.”

It calls industry’s claim that mines can be restored to their natural state untrue and that there are too few controls and no uniform standards regarding pollution and other impacts from oilsands mining.

“There are thousands of other scientists that are working to ensure that these oilsands are developed responsibly,” said Greg Stringham, vice-president of markets and oilsands, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “So in our mind the moratorium is not the right answer, its applying technology in an accelerated fashion that’s going to be the answer to the future of where oilsands goes.”

The authors and signatories on the report include 12 Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, 22 Members of the US National Academy, five Recipients of the Order of Canada, and a Nobel Prize winner.

A copy of the report and the ten reasons was sent to Prime Minster Stephen Harper and all Members of Parliament.