Speaking to a packed house at U of T's University College yesterday, David Schindler presented scientific data to back up claims of the devastation wreaked by oil sands development.
A noted limnologist and environmental activist, Dr. Schindler's presentation, entitled The Oil Sands: Economic Saviour or Environmental Disaster, was filled with results of experiments and slides of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). As someone with limited knowledge of chemistry and biology, I couldn't keep up with the details so I will give you what I took away as the big picture conclusions. Dr. Schindler kindly offered to send the presentation deck out to those who were interested, so you can contact him for a copy.
He suggested some logical next steps. First, a detailed study of fish health and effects of contaminants on reproduction and survival. Second, a detailed health study of people living in the area. And finally, better monitoring, to be done by Environment Canada, the only agency with the capacity to do an effective job.Dr. Schindler stated there is very little possibility that nothing (meaning no contaminants) is flowing into the Athabasca, and ended with the question, 'Why do we have to proceed with development much faster than we know what we are doing?'