Varcoe: If federal throne speech hurts oilpatch, ‘there will be a fight,’ says Alberta energy minister

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Last week, a group of some of the largest petroleum producers and pipeline operators in the country — Enbridge, TC Energy, Shell Canada, Imperial Oil, Suncor Energy, Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources — wrote a letter to the prime minister, detailing their concerns with the clean fuel standard.

“The current direction of the regulations is deeply flawed. The timelines and pathways for compliance are insufficient, and this is exacerbated by the current shortage of capital and restrictions arising from COVID-19,” it states.

There are other areas to look at. Chris Severson-Baker, Alberta director of the Pembina Institute, believes the federal government should focus investment in areas that promote energy efficiency in buildings, will scale up renewable energy, decarbonize the fossil fuel sector and promote a hydrogen strategy.

The government also needs to ensure that investments in infrastructure are in line with a low carbon future, he added.

“There’s no money to be saved by turning our back on the need to address climate change,” he said. “The challenge is to figure out how to do it in a way that’s as economic as possible, that results in the most jobs and most benefits.”

There is great potential for Alberta in areas such as a national hydrogen strategy and promoting carbon capture and sequestration, but the federal government also has to send a message that it backs the country’s natural resources sector and wants to see capital flow into it to create employment now, said Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta.


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