"Edmonton -- A study set to be published on Monday has found elevated levels of mercury, lead and eleven other toxic elements in the oil sands' main fresh water source, the Athabasca River, refuting long-standing government and industry claims that water quality there hasn't been affected by oil sands development.
The author of the study, University of Alberta biological scientist David Schindler, criticized the province and industry for an 'absurd' system that obfuscates or fails to discover essential data about the river. 'I think they [the findings] are significant enough that they should trigger some interest in a better monitoring program than we have,' he said.
The Athabasca has increasingly become a flashpoint for debate. Earlier this year, Environment Minister Jim Prentice dismissed Dr. Schindler's previous peer-reviewed work as 'allegations.'"