Just days after the Alberta government announced that a new panel of experts had been formed to monitor the environmental impacts of the province’s oil sands, one of its members has already quit.
While the panel was only announced at the end of January, five days after its official formation Helen Ingram, a water expert from the University of California Irvine, sent in her letter of resignation. She cited a lack of Aboriginal participation on the panel and concerns over how the panel would actually function as her reasons for leaving.
“I’m concerned that First Nations may think this is yet another snow job by a bunch of experts who speak a lot of technical speak,” Ingram told the Calgary Herald on February 2.
Having worked on other panels and water-policy workshops, Ingram stated in her letter of resignation that her concerns had made her “increasingly uncomfortable.” She also went on to say that the lack of scientists on the panel left her feeling disappointed and that the confidentiality rules for the panel would have restricted her ability to consult other experts in the field freely.
In response to Ingram’s resignation, Environment Alberta has argued that there are eight scientists on the panel and that the regulations governing disclosure of information for those on the panel have yet to be set in stone.
The other panel members are set to meet in a week’s time. All of them were appointed to their positions by the province of Alberta.