A joint oilsands monitoring program between Alberta and Ottawa has been under review, and the review has been released to the public. The goal of the review is to assess the effectiveness of the program when it comes to measuring the industry development impact on the oilsands. The program is operated by the federal and provincial governments and it was initially scheduled to be implemented completely by the end of last year. There have been some delays in the implementation though, and there are still some concerns over the program. Local First Nations groups are not involved in the program or the review process. The groups were involved in the beginning but they pulled out to show their protest because their environmental concerns were not being adequately addressed.
Some of the concerns about the joint Alberta-Ottawa oilsands monitoring program include financial and funding issues. One unit for mobile air testing had to be taken out of service when a decision was made that the program budget was not sufficient to cover the cost of the repairs needed. The Alberta monitoring agency has only been operating for around a year now and evaluations are still being performed. Some peer reviews of the program have been quite critical, and a scientific panel that studied the program also had some concerns as well. The latest review of the program is expected to address many of the concerns that have been voiced in the past. Hopefully the review will also answer the many questions that residents who live in the oilsands region may have about the program.