Oil sands contamination has been proven

Tom Fletcher is pushing an argument that was proven wrong in 2010.

Dear Editor:

Re: Environmentalism for dummies (B.C. Views, April 18.)

Tom Fletcher writes: “Diseased fish were displayed, but natural contamination of the Athabasca River was glossed over.”

Fletcher is pushing an argument that was proven wrong in 2010. Several years ago, people downstream from the oil-sands plants complained of diseased fish. They also complained of increased cancer rates. People were dying from rare forms of cancer! They blamed both items on pollutants that were put into the Athabasca River by the oil-sands plants.

The oil companies claimed that the pollutants in the river were naturally occurring. The governments of Canada and Alberta supported the companies.

In 2010, a study by David Schindler and others proved that the pollution is indeed caused by the oil-sands industry. At first both governments denied it. But the study was well-funded, well done and produced results that could stand up in court. Both governments conceded that Schindler was correct!

Why was it necessary for private groups to fund that study? Are our governments not responsible for protecting us from pollutants that cause cancer? Are they not required to protect places such as the Peace Athabasca Delta, and other natural wonders down-stream from the oil-sands?

Why were they so quick to side with the companies, when no such study had been done? What have they done to alleviate the situation?

Bill McConnell

Surrey