Politicians bow to James Cameron oil demands

Creates panel of scientists following 'Avatar' director's visit

TORONTO -- James Cameron sure has pull back home in Canada.

A day after the Hollywood director told oil-rich Alberta to halt expansion of its controversial oilsands project to save the local environment and First Nation communities, Ottawa has sprung into action (HR, Sept. 29).
Federal environment minister Jim Prentice on Friday ordered a blue-ribbon panel of scientists to test the water around the oilsands projects for possible harmful toxins, and report back within 60 days.
Introducing an oilsands watchdog follows Cameron earlier this week touring the Canadian oil extraction project, and accompanying tailing ponds, and pointing to downstream First Nation communities whose health and local environment has been put at risk.
"The people in Fort Chipewyan are afraid to drink their own water. They're afraid to eat the fish. They're afraid of the river. They're afraid to let their kids swim in the river," Cameron told a press conference Wednesday after a two-day fact-finding visit to Alberta that ended with the "Avatar" director meeting with provincial premier Ed Stelmach.
The Canadian-born filmmaker called for an impartial scientific study to be done to determine whether local communities were put at risk by the oilsands project.
Cameron's visit to Alberta made world headlines, with European and U.S. media outlets, and even a film crew with the Oprah Winfrey Network, following the director as he moved about the oilsands projects, First Nation communities and the corridors of power in Edmonton.
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