“I’m proud to say Alberta applauds and shares the President’s strong desire to address climate change and we’re already taking action.”
By: Alison Redford | Published by USA Today on Feb 25, 2013:
On behalf of my province — a close friend, ally and northern neighbor to the American people — I can say confidently that Alberta and the United States share one of the most trusted and important relationships in the world. The United States is already Alberta’s biggest customer for our oil. The Keystone XL pipeline will further cement the strong bond between Alberta and the U.S. and is important in developing a safe, secure North American energy partnership.
We know there are questions about Alberta’s oil sands and the heavy oil they produce, which already fills pipelines supplying America as well as proposed new pipelines like Keystone XL. I’m proud to say Alberta applauds and shares the president’s strong desire to address climate change and we’re already taking action.
The president’s comments during his recent State of the Union address are fully in sync with Alberta’s commitment to strong environmental policy, clean technology development, a healthy energy sector, economic growth and plentiful job opportunities for the middle class. The challenge for policy and decision makers on both sides of the border is striking the right balance and moving our countries forward, together.
We stand ready to demonstrate our strong track record on responsible oil sands development. And we are prepared to work with our federal government and our American friends to push the bar higher in addressing climate change.
Through our policies and our actions past, present and future, Americans should feel confident that Alberta is the safest, most secure and responsible energy supplier to the U.S. The same cannot be said for the other foreign countries and regimes that currently feed U.S. energy demand.
Americans should also understand that Alberta, and specifically projects like Keystone XL, are not looking for a free pass. Far from it. We want to be an enabler of good solutions that achieve the outcomes that all Americans and Canadians are looking for. I’m proud to say, Alberta is already leading the way.
We were the first place in North America to require by law all large industry across all sectors to take action on greenhouse gas emissions. We have a $15 price per ton on carbon for those who do not meet legislated limits. We take the revenue generated from this levy and direct all the money into a clean technology fund. To date Alberta has collected $312 million and has already invested nearly $167 million into 43 clean energy projects. This fund has also allowed our province to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 million tons.
Over the past several months Alberta has taken a number of strong environmental actions. These include an unprecedented commitment to openness and transparency of energy development through an on-line oil sands information portal, a world-leading oil sands monitoring program, an arm’s length governance system and a comprehensive land-use plan for the oil sands region that sets out vast swaths of protected land. Total conserved land within the oil sands region in Alberta is larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island and the District of Columbia, combined.
Expectations are high for Alberta to continue to push the bar on greenhouse gas reductions and this is why our environment minister is reviewing options to renew our climate change strategy.
As a neighbor and as a friend, let me conclude by saying I will not be satisfied with my province only being a world leader in energy development.
Through our actions, we must also be a global leader in environmental management. Projects like Keystone XL only reinforce our commitment to responsible oil sands development. We can have it both ways. And we will.
Alison Redford is the premier of Alberta, the epicentre of the Canadian tar sands.