Calls for RAMP to be scrapped

‘We have no idea what the environmental baselines are’

An Alberta water-policy group is calling for the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP) to be replaced and for Ottawa to “break its pattern of being missing in action” in the oilsands region.

Bill Donahue policy and science advisor for Water Matters says RAMP lacks sufficient scientific oversight and cohesion and its monitoring programs sampling techniques and chemical analyses are done improperly. As well he says assessments are “incomplete and inappropriate.”

The demand comes on the heels of several reports criticizing the industry-funded program.

Earlier this year a panel of scientists issued a damning peer-reviewed report revealing that RAMP met only one of nine objectives in detecting changes to water quality and doesn’t ask “the appropriate questions.”

The province and the energy industry have long relied on RAMP’s monitoring to bolster their argument that oilsands developments have no negative effects on the Athabasca River.

However Donahue says those arguments are flawed because RAMP began monitoring 30 years after the first oilsands project started therefore “we have no idea what the environmental baselines are.”

Email: thowell@ffwd.greatwest.ca