Tar ponds agency not concerned about LaPierre

Cape Breton Post
Sept 27, 2013

SYDNEY - A spokesperson for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency said Friday no concerns are being raised about the involvement of a disgraced scientist in the project to clean up what was considered to be Canada's worst toxic waste dump.

Meggan Desmond said the involvement of Louis LaPierre as a member of a federal environmental assessment panel that reviewed the project prior to work actually beginning is not posing any concern at this point. "There was no impact on the work of this project," said Desmond, adding the findings of the assessment panel were reviewed by several other federal departments and experts.

LaPierre was among three members of the panel created in 2008 to review the proposal from the agency for the remediation of the Sydney tar ponds, coke ovens and associated sites. The panel, among other things, conducted public meetings to gauge reaction to the agency's proposal to encapsulate contaminants left behind after nearly a century of making steel. At the time of his appointment, LaPierre was living in Chezzetcook in Nova Scotia and held the K.C. Irving Chair in Sustainable Development at the Université de Moncton.

The panel's final recommendation did accept the agency's proposal and the $400-million cleanup is nearly complete having transformed a highly-toxic area in the middle of Sydney into one that boasts recreation facilities, green spaces and abundant space for commercial development. However, LaPierre's work is now being reviewed by others since his recent admission that he lied about his academic credentials.

Transport Canada plans to review his role associated with the environmental impact assessment on the construction of the Confederation Bridge, which links Prince Edward Island to the mainland.

LaPierre has resigned from the Université de Moncton along with several other positions after admitting he wasn't completely truthful on his 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.

Among his other involvements, LaPierre reviewed shale gas regulations for New Brunswick Premier David Alward and the New Brunswick government named him as the first chairperson for the New Brunswick Energy Institute.