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RAMP responds to the article "Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries" (Kelly et al. 2010)

Sep 1 2010

“On behalf of the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP), it is encouraging to see additional research and monitoring being done in the oil sands region, to complement the extensive work being done by RAMP, Alberta Environment, and individual industry members. The aquatic environment of the Athabasca oil sands region is a complex system to monitor and members of RAMP welcome other studies that contribute to the body of scientific knowledge regarding this area.

RAMP looks forward to discussing the specifics of the study once a technical review of the paper and any supplementary information is conducted and compared to RAMP’s monitoring results.

RAMP has been designed using scientifically credible monitoring practices, employs recognized standard sampling protocols, and ensures that appropriate quality control and quality assurance controls are in place and followed. RAMP periodically undertakes a scientific peer review of the program. The first review was conducted in 2004 and provided helpful recommendations to improve and refine the program. Many of the recommendations have been implemented over the past 5 years, as the recent annual report and the Design and Rationale document demonstrate (

In June 2010, an External Peer Review of the technical aspects of RAMP was initiated and is expected to be completed by December 2010. An independent organization compiled a list of potential reviewers. Dr. Schindler was one of the potential reviewers asked to participate in the technical review of RAMP, but he declined to participate. RAMP is looking forward to receiving the findings of the Peer Review and has committed to making these findings publically available.

RAMP’s mandate is to identify and report any changes in the aquatic environment potentially related to oil sands development using scientifically credible methods and techniques. Responsibility for assessing and regulating specific “sources of pollution” rests with the provincial and federal regulating agencies. RAMP is confident that the program is capable of detecting any changes in key elements of the aquatic environment (water and sediment quality, hydrology, fish populations, benthic invertebrate communities) that would support regulatory requirements.”

Fred Kuzmic, RAMP Spokesperson

For more information, please contact:

Erin Johnston, RAMP Communications Coordinator

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