Editorial: The facts are alarming

In his last column (Old man take a look at your facts, Western News, Jan. 22) Tom Fletcher took a much deserved swipe at Neil Young’s obfuscation of the facts surrounding the oilsands development in Alberta.

Unfortunately, David Schindler was also in Young’s entourage and Fletcher took a swipe at him as well.

Schindler is a limnologist who founded and directed the Experimental Lakes Project near Kenora, Ont., where he led interdisciplinary research on the effects of eutrophication and acid rain on boreal ecosystems.

Schindler’s research is responsible for eliminating phosphate from detergents, to protect our lakes from eutrophication and led the way in mitigating the effects of acid rain on lakes.

Schindler’s research has informed government policy, not only in Canada, but around the world, wherever there is freshwater.

Fletcher took aim at Schindler for his most recent study which found the concentrations of certain contaminants in Athabasca River, downstream of the oilsands, exceed Canadian guidelines.

Fletcher mocked Schindler’s concern for the health of the river and humans and downplayed the importance of the results some of the contaminants are found in higher concentrations in the rivers around large cities.

Mr. Fletcher might be right, but one does not obviate the other.

Schindler’s point was that we are polluting the very thing that allows life on the planet, whether that water is around the oilsands, a city or in a prairie field.

It is OK to stir the pot, but please do not muddy the water or the facts.



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