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New Alberta government takes action to improve environmental protection

26 June 2015

The left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) government, voted into power last month, has said it will raise the cost of greenhouse-gas emissions for large industrial plants and boost targets for emission cuts. Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the new targets would improve Alberta's environmental reputation.

An Alberta oilsands operation
An Alberta oilsands operation

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) said companies would meet the new targets, but that combined with recent tax increases, costs are rising even before the government launches a promised review of oil royalties.

"The revised rules ... and Alberta's recently announced corporate tax increase have the potential to add almost C$800 million to industry costs over the next two years," CAPP said in a statement.

Phillips appointed an expert panel to draft new rules on greenhouse gas reductions to take effect after 2017. The panel is expected to release a preliminary proposal ahead of a key United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December.

The new measures were welcomed by environmental groups.

Alberta is the largest source of US oil imports, but its oil sands are Canada's fastest-growing source of carbon emissions and the province has faced harsh international criticism for what has been perceived as lax oversight of the oil sands industry.

The NDP is also considering pulling apart the province’s energy regulator, the AER, to separate its industry promotion and regulation activities.

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