June 16, 2017
OSAG report recommends Minister exercise authority to kill new projects
The recommendations in the first Oil Sands Advisory Group (OSAG) report would cap the energy sector by affirming ministerial powers to shut down private projects and cut off growth, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The report recommends authorizing the Minister of Energy or Environment to “have the authority to suspend project approval of facilities that have not yet started construction,” setting a dangerous precedent that could further stifle growth in Alberta’s oil sands.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said these changes would further chill investment in the oil and gas sector and are a clear cap on economic growth.
“The NDP government continues to fail to acknowledge the current economic climate in our province, and should they accept this report in its entirety, will hamper further growth and investment that would only serve to hurt everyday Albertans,” Jean said. “In particular, the recommendations on this growth cap sends a strong signal that Alberta is not open for business at a time we can least afford it.”
OSAG co-chair Tzeporah Berman took over $20,000 to influence the findings in the report and will not participate in further reviews. However, Tim Gray with Environmental Defence, an organization that is vigorously campaigning against Energy East, remains on the panel.
“It makes no sense to allow those who actively oppose our energy industry to dictate the terms of how our oil sands should grow,” Wildrose Shadow Environment Minister Todd Loewen said. “This government is far too comfortable sending signals to investors that so-called social license and aiming to please eco-radicals is more important than taking sensible measures to enhance environmental protections.”