Biology professor John Smol has been selected to participate in a national oil sands advisory panel. Last week, the federal government announced that six of the country's leading scientists, including Dr. Smol, will take on the task of looking into the state of environmental research and monitoring in the Alberta region.
"I'm honoured to be on a panel with a group of such distinguished researchers," says Dr. Smol. "I've always espoused the importance of evidence- and science-based policy decisions by politicians. The government is asking for science-based advice and I'm happy to contribute."
Dr. Smol is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in environmental change. He is an award-winning biologist whose research areas include environmental degradation and recovery in lake systems, environmental change of Arctic lakes and the study of long-term environmental and climatic change in lakes from different regions.
"We are determined to develop Canada's oil sands in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally-sensitive," noted Environment Minister Jim Prentice. "This independent review by some of Canada's most respected scientists is a critical step in ensuring that environmental issues are balanced with economic considerations."
The panel will be chaired by Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the former head of the United Nations environment program. Other members include Peter Dillon (Trent University), Subhasis Ghoshal (McGill University), Andrew Miall (University of Toronto) and Joseph Rasmussen (University of Lethbridge).
The panel has 60 days to report back to Minister Prentice with its findings.