Ontario intervenes to save research station shuttered by Harper government

Ontario intervenes to save research station shuttered by Ottawa by Adam Radwanski and Gloria Galloway, April 24, 2013, The Globe and Mail
Ontario is intervening to help preserve the freshwater research station controversially shuttered by the federal government. At an event at the University of Toronto on Wednesday morning alongside several of her ministers, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government is working with Ottawa, the province of Manitoba and the International Institute for Sustainable Development to keep open the Experimental Lakes Area, which is situated in northern Ontario. With negotiations ongoing, Ms. Wynne did not offer details on how the ELA will be run going forward. But she said her province is willing to “put operating dollars” into keeping it running, which she said is “important to us as a government that believes in science, believes in evidence.” The closure has been portrayed by critics of the federal government as part of a broader attack on environmental science research, driven more by ideological than financial considerations, and possibly motivated by the facility’s work to investigate the aquatic effects of climate change – work that Ms. Wynne specifically mentioned in her comments. The federal government began tearing down buildings at the ELA last month, amid concerns that it was abandoning a unique facility that has previously performed world-renowned work examining the effects of contaminants such as mercury, acid rain and phosphorus. At her press conference, Ms. Wynne described the ELA as “one of a kind.” Ottawa announced last May that it was closing the facility, which it said cost $2-million per year to operate, on the basis that it does not fit within the core mandate of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Work to dismantle it later began while a buyer was still being sought, and without the IISD – the only group known to be interested in taking it over – being informed in advance. The buildings being dismantled at the ELA were primarily used to provide housing for the scientists who worked there, and researchers have recently been barred from the site. Ottawa’s decision caused experiments into emerging contaminants to be halted midstream. [Emphasis added]

This entry was posted in Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.