What Alberta’s new UCP majority government means for the environment

Oilsands emissions cap? What oilsands emissions cap? Kenney has promised he will “absolutely” scrap the cap. Canada’s climate commitments include an 80 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050. This means cutting total emissions to 150 megatonnes — across the entire country — in three decades. Projects that have already received approvals add up to 131 megatonnes, according to the Pembina Institute. 

Image result for the narwhal: What Alberta’s new UCP majority government means for the environment
Incoming Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer greet one another at the UCP convention in Red Deer, Alta. Photo: Andrew Scheer / Flickr

Regulations and renewables are on the outs and battles with environmental groups are in, as Kenney promises to accelerate approvals of energy projects, scrap efficiency measures and fund an ‘energy war room’ to fight anyone who criticizes the province’s energy sector

Welcome to a new world — a world of “war rooms,” red-tape reductions and some rapid-fire repeals of existing programs and legislation.

1. Regulation? Let’s cut it.

Kenney has made it clear that a UCP government will be all about “streamlining” and “efficiencies.”

As part of that plan, the UCP government will ramp up approvals for new energy projects. Kenney described his plan as a “rapid acceleration of approvals.”

At the same time, his “red tape reduction action plan” will “cut red tape by a third.” There will be a new so-called “one-in, one-out” rule that will require that every new regulation created is offset by the elimination of an existing regulation.

He’ll even appoint a “Minister for Red Tape Reduction.”

Red tape, according to the UCP, is a “costly and growing burden” that “kills jobs.”

2. Parks: privatized services and more booze!

Given the heated backlash over the province’s Bighorn Country proposal earlier this year, it won’t come as a surprise if the UCP doesn’t pursue the planned parks and recreation areas.

Kenney had previously described the NDP’s Bighorn land-use plans as “an extreme approach to land use which cuts out local residents and legitimate economical and recreational use.”

The UCP has, however, pledged to provide $10 million to support the creation of a new urban provincial park within Edmonton city limits.

It has also pledged that “major environmental protection proposals” will be subject to a review of their economic impacts to ensure they are not harmful to the economy — a “balance,” the party says, to current environmental impact assessments of industrial projects.

The party’s platform outlines an increased emphasis of partnerships with park societies, and suggests the UCP will support increased volunteer activities to maintain parks.

An initial pilot project will determine if nearly all park services could be privatized, by examining “whether park societies could effectively be contracted to assume all park management responsibilities from [Alberta Environment and Parks], with the exception of enforcement.”

But, hey — soon we’ll be able to relax with a glass of wine after a long day of trail maintenance. The UCP has pledged to “relax liquor constraints in a number of provincial parks” as well as loosening liquor laws in municipal parks MORE

RELATED:

Canada’s Tar Sands Province Elects a Combative New Leader Promising Oil & Pipeline Revival
 

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