Immediately after last week’s decision by President Obama to deny the Keystone XL permit, Rachel Notley told reporters that Alberta must improve its environmental record. The suggestion sounds nice, but the provincial NDP have offered no examples of where our environmental record is lacking. The government’s constant barrage on the oil and gas industry’s environmental record is not just insulting, but severely misplaced.
The facts brought forth by industry advocates show a much different picture. As Cody Battershill points out so elegantly, Alberta has one of the best environmental track records on earth: read some of his findings here or visit canadaaction.ca. There is a substantial volume of stats, facts and figures supporting a strong environmental record in Alberta.
This is coupled with an oil industry that employs thousands of people whose job is to be prudent stewards of the environment. From safe drilling techniques, innovative equipment, pipeline safety, and all the way to environmental reclamation, the industry spends tremendous amounts of capital to ensure it is an effective steward of the land. And it shows. Even Rachel Notley herself and other NDP cabinet members have called Alberta one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Alberta’s environmental record shines especially bright when comparing its resource development to that of other oil-producing nations: Venezuela, Russia, parts of Africa and the middle-east.
This all ties back to an extremely troubling suggestion by Premier Notley that we actually have a poor environmental record. A suggestion she and her cabinet have made without any backup whatsoever. This could be a suggestion that leads to crippling carbon and environmental tax increases on oil and gas companies just because…the Alberta NDP said so.
With record deficits and no plans for a slowdown to provincial spending, newer harsh taxation measures may well be on the loom. And this is the last thing an industry which is shedding jobs at an alarming pace while squeezing out the tightest of margins needs.
If Notley’s crew are to proceed with any new tax measures, they must bring forward examples and explain specifically where Alberta is lacking environmentally. Their issues must be up for debate and scrutiny. To simply proceed without any consultation or presentation of facts would be dishonest and a major attack on Alberta’s backbone industry.