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Alberta

Emissions cap “will not be tolerated in Alberta” – Letter to Environment Minister Guilbeault

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Dear Minister Steven Guilbeault,

The federal government’s draft Regulatory Framework to Cap Oil and Gas Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions represents a de facto production cap on Alberta’s oil and gas sector. This cap is not realistic or effective, will not achieve its grandiose emissions targets, and will not be tolerated in Alberta.

Today, Alberta is efficiently and effectively regulating and driving emissions from all industrial sectors, including oil and gas, and has been doing so successfully for decades. Our technical submission outlines how your proposed oil and gas emissions cap will undercut this work, and the severe consequences that it will impose on Albertans and all Canadians.

In no way does Alberta’s technical submission alter our province’s position that the proposed emissions cap is unconstitutional. As set out in Section 92A of the Constitution Act, 1867, Alberta has exclusive jurisdiction to manage the rate of non-renewable natural resources production and operational aspects of their development in our province.

If implemented, this cap would have a devastating impact on the economies of Alberta and all of Canada. Analysis from the Conference Board of Canada shows that it would reduce Canada’s GDP by up to $1 trillion between 2030 and 2040 and create up to 151,000 lost jobs across Canada by 2030. Oil and gas production would be curtailed, tens of thousands could be out of work, and the economic impact would be felt from coast to coast.

We have identified an overwhelming number of flaws in your government’s proposed framework. For example, your assumed production forecasts – which form the basis of the cap – are from 2019. Alberta’s total oil and natural gas production has already risen past 2019 levels, and multiple forecasts project oil sands production to increase significantly by 2030. Similarly, the technologies needed to massively abate emissions in the oil and gas sector either don’t yet exist or aren’t being developed at the rate and scale that your modelling requires.

Many of these technologies and investments are supported by Alberta and will eventually deliver real and sustained reductions, but not by 2030. As well, our submission clearly demonstrates that:

• The proposed cap would violate Section 92A of the Constitution, and result in oil and gas production cuts and shut-ins in Alberta.

• It is based on a flawed regulatory framework and policy design that is ineffective, inefficient and will not produce the intended emission reductions.

• The proposed cap will negatively impact Alberta’s economy, as well as the economies of provinces and territories across the country, including the Canadian economy overall.

• It will undercut Canada’s competitiveness and drastically reduce investments in clean technologies like carbon capture, which are critical to meaningfully reducing emissions in the coming years.

• It is unnecessary and will undermine effective provincial-led decarbonizing approaches and initiatives already underway or proposed in Alberta and across Canada.

• It will lead to carbon leakage, with oil and gas production and greenhouse gas emissions increasing in other countries with less robust environmental and human rights standards.

Alberta is confident that the many of issues raised in this document are shared by other provinces and industry leaders, both within the oil and gas sector and beyond.

All greenhouse gas emissions have the same global impact, regardless of the sector or region in which they are produced. Instead of pursuing this unconstitutional cap, we are calling on your government to immediately halt further development and begin meaningful collaboration within established provincial regulatory regimes on oil and gas regulation and emissions reductions.

Alberta would welcome federal investment to help the oil and gas industry – and other industries – advance and adopt technology to reduce emissions to support our goals of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Alberta aspires to achieve a carbon neutral economy without compromising affordable, reliable, and secure energy for Alberta, Canada and the world. We know this relies on and requires investment to advance clean technology solutions.

We invite you to join us in implementing our Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan to achieve carbon neutrality while continuing the development of Alberta’s world-class natural energy resources for Canada and the world.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Schulz
Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

TDF funds defence of the “Coutts Three”

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The “Coutts Three,” Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen

News release from The Democracy Fund

A jury trial is expected to proceed after pretrial applications.

LETHBRIDGE: The Democracy Fund (TDF) is funding the defence of three men charged with mischief in Lethbridge, Alberta. The men, known as the “Coutts Three,” are Marco Van Huigenbos, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen. All three are alleged to have been leaders of the 17-day trucker protest against COVID-19 restrictions that shut down the Coutts border in February 2022.

The matter is expected to proceed to a jury trial after pretrial applications are heard over the next few days. Jury trials are only available for serious criminal matters where the accused faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment or more.

The men should not be confused with the “Coutts Four,” who were among the twelve persons arrested in connection to an RCMP raid that resulted in the seizure of weapons and the end of the protest. According to Van Huigenbos, the message of the Coutts protesters “had been lost” following the arrests and the border blockade was voluntarily dismantled.

Donations for the three men can be made on this page.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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