Province Examining Oilsands’ Impact on Forest

Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 15:25



A government director, in response to a CBC Radio report, says work is underway to see if oilsands development in Alberta is negatively affecting the wilderness in northern Saskatchewan.


Dr. Paul James is the director of integrated environmental monitoring with Saskatchewan Environment.


He says, at this point, it’s unclear whether acid rain is an issue in northern Saskatchewan, but he and his colleagues are attempting to learn more.


Reports and data are being exchanged with the Alberta government about oilsands activity and emissions it could be generating.


James says computer simulations indicate there could be some problems for the North from those emissions, but at this point, they simply don’t know.


Recently, a report came out examining forest soils in the North and their sensitivity to acid rain.


James says it confirmed what many suspected that soils in the North would be more sensitive to acid rain than soils in southern Saskatchewan.


He says more work needs to be done though to determine just what this would mean for northern Saskatchewan.


James is hoping that a monitoring station that had been operating in Cree Lake many years back can be re-opened.


He maintains it wouldn’t have to be in the same spot, but in a place that would help them understand what effect, if any, oilsands expansion is having on northern lakes and wilderness.