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article imageOp-Ed: Canada to close world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area research

By Ken Hanly     Mar 30, 2013 in Environment
Ottawa - The Harper government is achieving global notoriety for its environmental policies. Even Al Jazeera has taken note of the Harper government decision to defund the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area.
The Experimental Lakes Area provides information about climate change, acid rain, and industrial pollution. No doubt this is all information that the Harper government would rather ignore. A video about the center can be found here. produced by AL Jazeera.
The Canadian government was hoping that others would take over by the end of March this year but no operators have come forward.
A group of researchers from Trent University in Peterborough Ontario who are already funded was told that they are barred from the site in northwestern Ontario. They had started work last summer and spent thousands of dollars on an approved trip to one site as recently as last month.
The Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) is a unique international research station in that it contains 58 formerly pristine freshwater lakes in the Kenora District of northwestern Ontario. It is run by Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. The station studies a wide variety of stresses on the lakes and their catchments. The ELA researchers have studied the whole lake ecosystems over forty years and have collected long-term records relevant for climatology, hyrdology, and limnology addressing key issues in water management. These studies have influenced water management policy in Canada, the USA and Europe.
In 2012 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a plan to discontinue supporting the site as of March 31, 2013. They will either decommission the site or turn it over to a third party for operation.
Without prior notice to scientists whose personal effects still remained at the site, the Department began dismantling cabins that had been used by the scientists. Roberto Quinlin of the Society of Canadian Limnologists said that the move "brings into serious doubt the government’s sincerity to actually transfer the facility over to another operator.”
Ironically Bill C-38 euphemistically called "Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act" amended the Fisheries Act to close the Experimental Lakes Project back on June 29 2012.
Even Rick Mercer felt he had to chime in on this issue.
The closing of this Experimental Lakes Area follows upon the heels of Canada's withdrawal from the UN Convention on Droughts as reported in the Digital Journal recently.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Canada, Cnadian environmental policy, Stephen Harper
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