NAFTA environmental body wants to probe tailings leakage

Commission says Canada has failed to counter evidence that it's turning a blind eye to toxic leakage in the oil sands.

MONTREAL — Investigators from an environmental watchdog set up as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement want to investigate whether Canada is enforcing its laws adequately when it comes to the oil sands.

The Commission on Environmental Co-operation says Canada has failed to counter evidence that it’s turning a blind eye when it comes to toxic leakage from the industry’s massive tailings ponds.

Canada has maintained the commission doesn’t have the right to investigate the issue.

The move sets up a second fight between Canada and the commission, which was set up to ensure free trade doesn’t create downward pressure on environmental enforcement.

A deadline for the three countries in the commission to decide if it will investigate how Canada protects wild salmon stocks from disease is Aug. 12.

Canada has already said it won’t take part in the vote.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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