Environment Canada asked to take over ELA

In a press conference held in Ottawa last Thursday, the Coalition to Save the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) argued that Environment Canada should take responsibility for the lake facility east of Kenora, which was cut out of the federal budget this past spring.

In its more than 40 year history, the ELA has helped scientists learn more about issues such as climate change and acid rain through applied research.

According to a report by The Globe and Mail, Diane Orihel, director of the Coalition to Save the Experimental Lakes Area, told the conference that she will be writing to Environment Minister Peter Kent to ask that his department take on the ELA, which currently sits with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Orihel argues that because of changes made to the Fisheries Act through Bill C-38, the ELA fits better under Environment Canada’s agenda. “The ELA would help the environment department meet its strategic objectives of identifying new threats to freshwater resources, assessing the impacts of economic growth and climate change on the water supply, and addressing problems that could be created by the oil sands,” Orihel told the Globe.

But despite these arguments, a spokesperson for the environment minister has already denied the request. It has been reported, however, that the government hopes to find another institution to take over the ELA. If this doesn’t happen and the ELA shuts down, cleaning up the facility and surrounding grounds could reportedly cost millions of dollars. The funding cut to this one-of-a-kind freshwater research facility is set to take effect in March of 2013.

To learn more about the Experimental Lakes Area and what you can do to help, go to saveela.org.