Transport Canada investigating scientist who worked on tar ponds

Cape Breton Post
Sept. 27, 2013

CHARLOTTETOWN (TC Media) - Transport Canada is launching a probe into the work completed by Louis LaPierre on the Confederation Bridge. LaPierre also worked on the Sydney tar ponds remediation.

LaPierre, a former professor emeritus at the University of Moncton who admitted last week he lied about his academic credentials, was a member of the scientific team that completed the environmental impact assessment for the Confederation Bridge, which links Prince Edward Island to the mainland.

Transport Canada says LaPierre's involvement in this assessment was 'limited', but still plans to review any work he completed or signed off on. "Transport Canada understands that maintaining trust in our environmental assessment process is of foremost importance, which is why we will be conducting our review and conduct any follow ups as necessary," a Transport Canada spokeswoman wrote in a statement emailed to The Guardian Thursday.

LaPierre has resigned from the University of Moncton and several other positions after admitting he falsified his educational resume. He claimed he had a PhD in ecology from the University of Maine while his doctoral degree was actually in education from Walden University in Minnesota. Using these credentials, he provided scientific expertise on a number of high profile development projects in the region.

He was a member of the environmental panel that reviewed the Sydney tar ponds remediation in Cape Breton and the advisory panel on the proposed New Brunswick-Quebec electricity transaction.

For his work on the Confederation Bridge, LaPierre was even given an award from Jacques Whitford Environmental Limited, according to his biography as published on the Institute for Environmental Monitoring and Research website.

Despite the controversy surrounding LaPierre's credentials, Transport Canada says it remains confident the environmental work completed on the fixed link was sound. "At this time, we continue to have a high level of confidence that decisions made were based on science as a result of the many studies that were conducted by a wide range of people that had all the appropriate credentials," Transport Canada said in its written statement.

An official with Premier Robert Ghiz's office referred The Guardian's request for comment to Transport Canada and Strait Crossing Bridge Ltd.

Strait Crossing, which is responsible for operating and managing the Confederation Bridge, declined to comment on this story.