Friday, 26 August 2011

Feds killing water monitoring regime in the #NWT

Media Advisory
August 25th, 2011

Yellowknife, NT

Federal budget cuts to Environment Canada will shut down nearly all water monitoring stations in the Northwest Territories. Of the territories' 23 water monitoring sites, 21 will be shut down.

"This is unacceptable, it is a slap in the face," said Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. "The federal government has obligations through land claim agreements and the government's Water Strategy to protect water quality and quantity. How can you protect water if you are not monitoring for impacts and changes?"

The shutting down of water monitoring stations was revealed yesterday in the Legislative Assembly by Environment and Natural Resources Minister Michael Miltenberger, who received the information from the federal Cabinet.

"The Prime Minister and Cabinet are killing environmental monitoring in the name of fiscal restraint while they continue to subsidize oil companies and spend money on foreign lobbying on behalf of the tar sands," Erasmus said. "The Prime Minister is in our territory today, but he won't even tell us himself that his government is killing efforts to protect fresh water."

Dene and other Aboriginal northerners rely on fresh water systems for drinking, transportation, and for harvesting. Research has shown that upstream industry activities and climate change can impact both water quality and water quantity.

"We are downstream from the tar sands and other sources of pollution," Erasmus said. "With rapid climatic changes, and planned expansion of Alberta's tar sands, it is crucial that we step up our water monitoring regime in the north. The Prime Minister and Cabinet must reverse this move, and include Dene and other northerners in future decisions on water protection and water management."


For more information please contact: Daniel T'seleie, at the Dene National Office (867) 873-4081

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