The Science of Oilsands Bribery

Credit: Suncor Energy

Canadian Environment Minister, Peter Kent, has announced a plan to monitor the impact that the Alberta oil sands are having on air quality, water quality, and bio-diversity.

You care because the $50 million bill for the project will be footed by the oilsands industry instead of the taxpayers. I care because the man in charge of environmental policy for country seems to think that it’s okay to stack the scientific method to find whatever evidence will make him and his friends richer. As the CBC reports:

Kent said Ottawa will start work with the Alberta government and industry to implement the monitoring plan “almost immediately.” He estimated it will cost up to $50 million a year and said it will be paid for by the oilsands industry.

“I think it’s very important and it will provide the facts and the science to defend the product, which some abroad are threatening to boycott,” Kent said after unveiling the plan at a news conference in Ottawa.
Kent said results of the monitoring will dispel what he called misinformation about the oilsands that is used to “discriminate” against a “great Canadian resource.”

Monitoring will provide the hard science to prove the oilsands are “being developed in a responsible, sustainable and constantly improving way,” he said.

So Kent has pretty much said that he’s accepting money from private interests and will use it to further those interests for years to come. I guess it doesn’t count as bribery if you invest the money right back to the people that paid you off in the first place.