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Provinces being asked to fund Experimental Lakes Area

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Environmental groups are calling on Ontario and Manitoba to split the cost of funding to keep the Experimental Lakes Area open.

Each province is being asked to pitch in $1 million a year for the next three years. Ottawa announced last winter it’s cutting funding this April.

For decades the ELA has been one of the world’s biggest natural laboratories and the source of pioneering work on pollution, like identifying phosphorus as a pollutant, leading to its removal from laundry detergent plus dozens of other practical measures to protect the environment.

Environmentalists and scientists in Canada strenuously lobbied the federal government for the funding to resume. And the decision triggered criticism from around the world, with scientists sending open letters calling for Canada to not abandon the ELA research.

Now the Boreal Forest Network and the Council of Canadians is calling upon the Ontario and Manitoba governments to fund the lakes in an open letter Thursday.

"Sadly our federal government is failing in its responsibility to foster credible scientific research to base decisions affecting our water, environment and climate. For this reason we look to your governments to fulfill this critical role," an announcement from the groups stated.

The lakes are located in Ontario and the Freshwater Institute is located in Manitoba. Each province would need to contribute $1 million annually until federal funding is re-instated." The groups are asking for a three year minimum commitment.

Earlier this week, Diane Orihel, founder of the Coalition to Save ELA, was presented with the prestigious Diamond Jubilee Medal. This award recognizes Canadians who have made significant contributions to their communities and who have brought credit to Canada.

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