David Schindler and 7 other prominent scientists have come together to call bullshit on Boothe's report and minister Phillip's decision. While Boothe called it a 'failed three year experiment,' the scientists helpfully point out that it inherited a hoarder's level of baggage from former versions of the program and it was unfair to hold them responsible for this, as they hadn't adequate time to clean the mess.
The casual skimmer of the Edmonton Journal might see this headline and think impure thoughts. 'Trail-blazing aboriginal doctor worries Fort Chipewyan residents not ready for major lifestyle change' may seem, to the uninformed masses, like Fort Chipewyan needs a major attitude adjustment about their health. Everyone knows that aboriginal communities struggle with smoking, diabetes, drug use, lack of physical activity and poor food choices, right? Fort Chip is no different? Wrong.
Residents of Fort Chipewyan have long voiced their concerns about fast-escalating cancer rates, which most in the community directly attribute to upstream Oil Sands development. While still negotiating with the government for an extensive baseline health study, the community decided to take matters into their own hands and conduct their own health study with the input of University of Manitoba environmental health researcher, Dr. Stéphane McLachlan.
Though it will be too late for those in the Peace-Athabasca to have their concerns heard with respect to the Site C dam by the time the modelling is done, the research will at least be able to send a stronger signal the next time a review panel is burdened with the task of evaluating just how far downstream the impacts of flow regulation will reach.
New science shows that there is an identifiable difference between groundwater tainted by Oil Sands Affected Water (or tailings pond water) and that which is found naturally. The oil sands are leeching chemically unnatural tailings into the environment.