German scientists quit oilsands research over public concern

EDMONTON - Environmental concerns have forced Germany's largest scientific organization to pull out of a joint research program with Alberta on better ways to upgrade oilsands bitumen.

A spokesman for the Helmholtz Association says criticism in the European country led the pullout.

Bernd Schneider says German public and political opposition to the oilsands — as well as Canada's position on environmental matters such as the Kyoto Protocol — are behind the pressure.

Schneider says other aspects of the joint initiative concerning topics such as land reclamation are proceeding normally.

The Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative is partly funded by a five-year, $25-million commitment from the province.