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Feds cancel oil sands inquiry; no reasons given

A Canadian government investigation into water pollution from the oil sands has been terminated without explanation, according to a recent report.

The 18-month probe was conducted by federal Tories and opposition MPs. No reason has been given for the cancellation. And politicians in the standing committee on environment have decided to destroy draft copies of the final report, a Tuesday Montreal Gazette story reads.

The decision was made in a closed-door meeting on June 17. Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia has accused Stephen Harper’s Conservative government of “constant denial and foot-dragging” on oil sands pollution issues.

Meanwhile, Tory MP James Bezan maintained the investigation was worthwhile, claiming important information was made public.

MPs on the committee had traveled so far to Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray to hear testimony from expert witnesses.

In late 2008, a multi-stakeholder committee that advised the federal government on changes to the Environmental Assessment Act was apparently disbanded.

And under Harper's leadership, recent changes to another advisory committee may increase the risk of oil spills on the B.C. coast.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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