Oil sands monitoring group votes not to disband despite funding crunch

Organization relies on industry funding for almost all of its $5-million budget, which the government has made optional next year.

CALGARY — An oil sands environmental monitoring group has voted not to disband despite having no secure source of revenue next year.

The Fort McMurray, Alta.,-based Cumulative Environmental Management Association learned this past summer that the province would make industry funding of the group optional next year.

The organization relies on industry funding for almost all of its $5-million budget.

CEMA spokeswoman Carol Christian confirmed the vote to dissolve was defeated, but she declined to release the voting results citing confidentiality rules.

In recent years industry has argued against funding the group, saying other initiatives like the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring program and the Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance fulfil a similar role.

CEMA has argued it is the only independent monitoring group and better represents aboriginal stakeholders.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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