STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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More from the Denial Machine

Posted by mhudema on June 25, 2008

By JEREMY LOOME, EDMONTON SUN

“Unfair” environmental criticism that is mounting in the U.S. against the oilsands could cause an uncertain economic future for Alberta, Finance Minister Iris Evans said yesterday.

Evans said she won’t predict the double-digit multibillion-dollar surplus many expect here next year due to high oil prices, noting the province is waging political war against anti-dirty oil legislation in the U.S. that could impact its ability to develop an oilsands-based economy.

HOPING FOR HELP

And she said she’s hoping for help from states that also benefit from upgrading bitumen, the oilsand/tar mix that is refined into synthetic crude.

“It offends me deeply to hear people say ‘dirty oil,’ ” she said. “When they go to the gas tank and fill up with the oil, they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a drop of oil out of our oilsands and any other oil they’ll purchase anywhere else. So that’s highly offensive.”

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Alberta has been under assault ever since Premier Ed Stelmach unveiled his long-term green plan last year, and said the province won’t bring carbon emissions to 2005 levels until 2050. That’s so the province can develop carbon capture sequestration – the underground storage of carbon – as a possible environmental solution to the impact of greenhouse gases. Evans said the province has already made headway in planning for water use and putting an emissions strategy in place.

“When we’ve collected $40 million from industry that failed to meet those targets, I think we’re doing more than anyone else.”

The government is imperilling Alberta’s future by not slowing down the economy now and suspending new development in the oilsands, said Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema.

Alberta needs a better economic balance, said Liberal critic Laurie Blakeman, the MLA for Edmonton Centre.

‘LOTS OF MONEY’

“It’s one of the reasons we keep pushing for an ethical investment policy,” she said. “Yes, we want lots of money in the heritage fund, and yes, we want Alberta to be perpetually prosperous, but am I willing to accept anything to accomplish that? To look out a window and see trees with no leaves? No.”

NDP Leader Brian Mason said the government is beholden to big business because of political donations and support.

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