Ottawa, ON – We are disappointed (though not surprised) to learn that the Canadian government has blocked the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an international institution, from conducting an investigation of the tar sands leaking tailing ponds.
Study after study has shown that tar sands tailings ponds are leaking toxic chemicals, damaging rivers in northern Alberta and impacting the health of people who depend on those rivers for water and food. The federal government needs to protect the health of people and rivers rather than tar sands polluters.
The rationale the Canadian government has used to reject the Commission from undertaking a deeper investigation is that there is a pending court case regarding these leaks. At best, this is disingenuous since the CEC has already ruled that the process hearing (a hearing that does not even have the status of a court case) has been completed. The CEC, NAFTA’s environmental watchdog, is the body with the power to determine that the hearing has been completed and it has made similar decisions in over two dozen other cases.
The Canadian government needs to step out of the way and for the sake of the rivers and people allow an investigation of the toxins leaking from tar sands operations.  
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or media requests, please contact: Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca