Federal Court ruling on plastics: Premier Smith and Minister Schulz
Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz issued the following statement on the Federal Court ruling that the federal government’s unilateral decision to label plastics as ‘toxic’ was both unreasonable and unconstitutional:
“A little over a year ago, Alberta intervened with the Federal Court to argue that the federal government’s decision to unilaterally label plastic as a ‘toxic substance’ is an unconstitutional intrusion into provincial jurisdiction and a threat to our economy.
“Today, the Federal Court sided with Alberta and Saskatchewan and found that listing plastics as a toxic substance is ‘both unreasonable and unconstitutional.’
“The court also found that the federal government’s decision to label all plastics as toxic ‘poses a threat to the balance of federalism as it does not restrict regulation to only those (plastics) that truly have the potential to cause harm to the environment.’
“The court also reminded the federal government that ‘cooperative federalism recognizes that the provincial government and federal government are coordinate – the provinces are not subordinate to the federal government. A federal head of power cannot be given a scope that would eviscerate a provincial legislative competence.’
“This latest decision comes on the heels of the Supreme Court of Canada decision confirming the unconstitutionality of the federal government’s destructive Impact Assessment Act, formerly known as Bill C-69, and demonstrates a continued pattern of federal overreach intended to subvert the constitutionally protected role and rights of provinces using the criminal head of power.
“Like Bill C-69, the federal government’s decision to unilaterally label perfectly safe plastic consumer products as ‘toxic’ has had wide-ranging consequences for Alberta’s economic interests and has put thousands of jobs and billions of investments at risk.
“Alberta is proudly home to Canada’s largest petrochemical sector, a sector with more than $18 billion in recently announced projects that were needlessly put in jeopardy by a virtue-signaling federal government with no respect for the division of powers outlined in the Canadian Constitution.
“It’s time for the federal government to listen to the courts and to Canadians. We urge them to not appeal this decision, and to immediately delete ‘plastic manufactured items’ from Schedule 1 of the current Canadian Environmental Protection Act so as to avoid further need of legal action by Alberta and other provinces.”
Premier Smith reacts to Liberal Government’s announcement on new methane reduction targets at COP 28
Federal methane emissions targets: Joint statement
“Once again, the federal government is setting unrealistic targets and timelines. Infrastructure can only be updated as quickly as technology allows. For example, Alberta will not accept nor impose a total ban on flaring at this time, as it is a critical health and safety practice during production. Any regulation that completely prohibits this is putting lives at risk”
Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz issued the following statement on the federal government’s proposed methane emissions regulations:
“The federal government has unilaterally established new methane emissions rules and targets to help win international headlines. Instead of building on Alberta’s award-winning approach, Ottawa wants to replace it with costly, dangerous and unconstitutional new federal regulations that won’t benefit anyone beyond Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault’s post-office career.
“Managing emissions from Alberta’s oil and gas industry is our constitutional right and responsibility, not Ottawa’s, and we are getting the job done. Using a province-led approach, Alberta has already reduced methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 45 per cent – hitting our target three years early – and we’re just getting started.
“Meanwhile, not only is it illegal for Ottawa to attempt to regulate our industries in this manner, Ottawa also hasn’t even hit one of its past arbitrary and unscientific emissions targets largely because it has little to no credible expertise regulating the natural resource, agricultural and other industry sectors in this space.
“Ottawa could have helped us keep reducing emissions with joint incentive programs in line with Alberta’s Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan. It could have listened to the Supreme Court’s declaration that the Impact Assessment Act was unconstitutional and abandoned this kind of arrogant and ineffective scheme. Instead, these new regulations threaten our successful province-led approach and impede good work that’s already underway.
“Once again, the federal government is setting unrealistic targets and timelines. Infrastructure can only be updated as quickly as technology allows. For example, Alberta will not accept nor impose a total ban on flaring at this time, as it is a critical health and safety practice during production. Any regulation that completely prohibits this is putting lives at risk. A total ban would also be costly, resulting in shut-ins and loss of production.
“This approach will also cost tens of billions in infrastructure upgrades, yet Ottawa has provided virtually no financial support to do so. Thousands of Albertans could be put out of work in the coming years due to these costly regulations. A federal government willing to invest $37.7 billion into just three battery plants in Ontario and Quebec cannot credibly refuse to provide tax credits and financial incentives for producers in Alberta and Saskatchewan to assist with achieving a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
“For years, Alberta, not Ottawa, has done the hard work and achieved results. We strongly support reducing methane emissions and have invested tens of millions into developing these technologies. Minister Guilbeault must work with us, and not against us, to keep cutting methane emissions and charting a course for carbon neutrality by 2050.
“Given the unconstitutional nature of this latest federal intrusion into our provincial jurisdiction, our government will use every tool at our disposal to ensure these absurd federal regulations are never implemented in our province.”
Alberta’s Methane Target Reached Early
Gas processing plant in northwest Alberta, courtesy of EnergyNow
Courtesy of ENERGYminute
See more articles and infographics from ENERGYminute HERE
In a pat-yourself-on-the-back moment, Alberta’s oil and gas industry successfully achieved a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions, surpassing the province’s mandated target ahead of schedule.
Background: Alberta was the first province in Canada to commit to a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 2025, based on 2014 levels. Spoiler alert: Alberta achieved its methane mission three years early.
- Their targeted approach to reducing methane emissions from flaring, venting and fugitives has become an example globally, earning national and international awards for its effectiveness and cost-efficiency.
Alberta strong: The government credited the early success to close collaboration with the industry, implementing early action programs such as carbon offsets, tough regulations for all facilities, and enhanced leak detection and repair methods.
Minister of Environment Rebecca Schulz highlighted that this made-in-Alberta approach not only achieved the goal three years ahead of schedule but also resulted in roughly $600 million in savings for the industry compared to the proposed federal program.
Getting the job done: Alberta allocated $57 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction fund for methane emissions programs, including:
- $25 million in rebates to companies adopting emissions reduction equipment.
- $17 million supporting alternatives to detecting and quantifying emissions.
- $15 million to help small- and medium-sized operators assess methane reduction opportunities.
Overall, the initiatives eliminated 16.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere.
Looking ahead: Alberta is committed to building on this momentum and collaborating with industry experts to determine the next steps in their emissions reduction journey, aligning with the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
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