Albertans defend oilsands after criticism from U. S. mayors; Americans urge
municipalities to ban use of gas in vehicles because process produces too
much carbon dioxide;
Byline: BY BOB WEBER, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta politicians are rising to defend the province’s main economic driver
after U. S. mayors passed a resolution urging American cities to stop using
fuel derived from the oilsands.
“I wish I could talk to all of them one-on-one,” Finance Minister Iris
Evans said Tuesday.
“I continually am reminded that people in Alberta — as well as certainly
people in the United States — do not really comprehend the good things that
have been done in Alberta and that’s an elephant in the room, that lack of
On Monday, U. S. mayors passed a resolution at their annual conference in
Miami urging cities to ban the use of oilsands-derived gasoline in municipal
They took direct aim at Alberta’s oilsands, pointing out that developing a
barrel of oilsands oil produces three times as much carbon dioxide as
conventional oil. The resolution also alleges oilsands development damages
Canada’s boreal forest and slows the transition to cleaner energy sources in
the United States.
Energy Minister Mel Knight promised Monday that Alberta will soon announce
major strides in capturing and storing greenhouse gas emissions from the
On Tuesday, other politicians leapt to his side.
Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier invited a delegation of his American
counterparts to visit his city to learn more about oilsands production.
“Reducing greenhouse gas is an important issue, but it requires a
comprehensive, thoughtful and realistic approach,” he said.
“This resolution suggests a lack of understanding and we hope by extending
that invitation we can help set the record straight.”
Echoing the provincial government’s position, he said the mayors should have
focused more on conservation and technological innovation.
“We can pass all the `feel-good’ resolutions that we want, but the reality
of the situation is that production from the oilsands is necessary,” he
Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach repeated a suggestion he has made before that
his province is a leader in environmental regulation.
“We are the first jurisdiction to put in place emission levies,” he said.
“We’re doing cumulative environmental impact assessments both in the
oilsands and also in the industrial heartland. We’re the only jurisdiction
in Canada to put forward a land-use framework and also our water-for-life
strategy is well ahead of many jurisdictions in North America.”
Evans said emissions per barrel of oil have been reduced by 45 per cent by
the industry since 1990 and that $40 million has been collected from
industries that failed to meet the province’s emissions targets.
“I think we’re doing more than anyone else.”
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