Canada Mothballs High-Tech Oil Spill Detecting, Arctic Ice Monitoring Planes

tar sands photo

photo: sbamueller/Creative Commons

Last December Canada's Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development admitted that the nation is badly prepared to handle an oil spill. Yet, according to a new article in Environment Canada has now mothballed its high-tech equipment for dealing with oil spills, monitoring sea ice, among other things. According to former staffers, it's all now just sitting in a hangar outside Ottawa.On the planes which have been sitting idle for a year now, there's equipment that can "map and measure even the smallest changes in the Earth's geography" and one which "has a unique capacity to detect and confirm oil spills in any conditions--in the dark, in the ice, on the shore, on land and on the ocean."

Environment Canada says it's more cost effective to lease the aircraft to do the same work than manage its own planes, some of which are admittedly pretty old at this point.

Considering recent statements by Canada's new environment minister trying to rebrand the environmentally damaging, but financially lucrative, tar sands as "ethical oil", the following analysis seems apt:

The mothballing suggests the Tories would just rather not know about oil spills and pollution that are bound to increase in the future as oil exploration and shipping activity expand off the coast of [British Columbia] and in the North, said New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen.

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More on Canada:
Canadian Environment Minister Gloats While Gulf Oil Spill Spreads
Canada's New Environment Minster's Job: Shill The Tar Sands as "Ethical Oil"
Canada NOT PREPARED for Major Oil Spill Environment Commissioner Warns

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