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Sep 19, 2013 10:08 AM EDT

Moncton Professor Resigns from Federal Panel Following Academic Credential Inquiry

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Two weeks after controversy erupted surrounding his academic qualifications, Louis LaPierre, a former University of Moncton professor, tendered his resignation as chair of the Marathon Panel, a federal environmental review board.

In the resignation letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), dated Sept. 17, LaPierre cites 'medical reasons' as the reason for his departure. His resignation takes effect immediately.

LaPierre has served as chair on the panel for two years. His responsibility included reviewing a proposed open pit mine located about 10 kilometers north of the Town of Marathon, Ont.

Annie Roy, CEAA spokeswoman said that the federal and Ontario ministers of environment will soon find a replacement for LaPierre.

Meanwhile, the University is examining the academic credentials of one of its most prominent professors.

Earlier this month, Radio-Canada's report questioned LaPierre's academic credentials. The professor's biography claims that he holds two degrees from the University of Maine, a master's of science in wildlife ecology and a PhD in ecology.

Similar academic history was also listed in the biographical notes issued by the CEAA at the time of the announcement of the review panel on the proposed Marathon mine in August 2011.

The University of Maine established that LaPierre did earn a master's degree in science education, but does not have a master's degree in wildlife ecology. Plus, he does not have a doctorate from the institute as well.

Replying to the allegations, LaPierre told Radio-Canada that there was some confusion with his academic biography. He said the PhD was in alliance with the University of Maine and Walden University back in 1985.

LaPierre said that his professor at the University of Maine transferred to Minnesota, so LaPierre followed him there to complete his degree.

The University of Maine once again confirmed with Radio-Canada that there was never any partnership with Walden University.

Tamara Chumley, a spokeswoman of Walden University, said that he does have a PhD from the institute but it's in education, not science.

Premier David Alward said that he is confident about LaPierre and is waiting for a response from the well-known academician himself.

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