Time right to review oilsands: Prentice

The federal environment minister says the economic slowdown provides a perfect opportunity to take stock of future oilsands development in Alberta.

CALGARY — The federal environment minister says the economic slowdown provides a perfect opportunity to take stock of future oilsands development in Alberta.

“Effectively, because of the economic circumstances we’re in, we’ve had a de facto moratorium on oilsands development because of the nature of the economy,” Jim Prentice said Tuesday.

“I think this is an opportunity for us to take stock to make sure that all of the projects are being thoroughly reviewed, that it’s being done in a sustainable way and that we have all of the requisite due diligence in terms of the environment.”

As the economy has struggled around the globe, energy prices have fallen, and the frantic pace of oilsands-related development has been mostly in a holding pattern since last fall.

Many of the more than $80 billion in projects planned for Upgrader Alley near Edmonton to process raw bitumen have been delayed indefinitely and oilsands developers are expecting to cut project spending by $97 billion.

It’s a different scenario than even a year ago when a booming Alberta was criticized nationally and internationally for the frantic pace of oilsands expansion around Fort McMurray.

Canada is the biggest exporter of oil to the United States and a lot of it comes from the sticky oilsands which have reserves that are second in size only to Saudi Arabia’s.

“It’s . . . important to note that this is a strategic resource for Alberta, for Canada, and it is a resource that we need to develop and will develop,” said Prentice.

Premier Ed Stelmach acknowledges that the recession is giving his government time to build new infrastructure such as roads and waste treatment facilities in Fort McMurray.

“The slowdown has occurred dramatically,” Stelmach said. “We’re working very closely with industry but the fact is there is a considerable slowdown — and you’ve seen it in share prices in the companies there.”

Just Posted

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion recognized in throne speech

Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta calls for more details

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read