(Re-published with permission from DeSmog Canada)

The Helmholtz Association of Research Centres, a major German scientific body with more than 30,000 researchers and US$4.4 billion in annual funding, has dropped out of a joint Alberta tar sands project over fears that the project was damaging the institution’s reputation. 

In April 2011, the Province of Alberta invested $25 million to form the “Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative” that would study ways to deal with leakage from the toxic tailings ponds that are a by-product of tar sands mining operations. The HAI was also tasked with finding ways to upgrade the energy extracted from bitumen and lignite coal in order to reduce energy consumption, and a few other “sustainable solutions” to Canada’s ongoing environmental and energy challenges.