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Bonnyville and Cold Lake Concerned Over Upcoming Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Both the Town of Bonnyville and City of Cold Lake are concerned with proposed emission reduction plans for the oil sands on both the federal and provincial level.

Bonnyville is mailing off a letter to Environment and Climate Change Canada saying the policy could make the local oil industry uncompetitive. The federal plan is to reduce emissions from wells by 40 to 45 percent by 2025. Mayor Gene Sobolewski says his concern is that if less oil is produced at sites near the town, the knock on effects will be felt throughout the local economy.

Sobolewski doesn’t want to stop there though. Council also hopes that have meetings with federal ministers to express their point of view face to face.

Cold Lake meanwhile has sent a letter to Alberta Energy Minister Marg McQuaig-Boyd over upcoming regulations that may introduce compliance costs for greenhouse gas emissions in comparison with other operators around the province. Local industry urged the city to advocate on their behalf, saying oil sands extraction is a more intensive process in this region. The City wanted to emphasize that the industry is willing to meet the reduction targets, but feels this method would pit region against region.

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“It has come to our attention through local industry that, should the Government of Alberta’s regulations implement a blanket approach to greenhouse gas emissions across various oil sands regions, operations in Cold Lake could be put a comparative disadvantage in relation to those in other areas,” the letter reads in part.

“More specifically, it is our understanding that because the technology for resource extraction is more intensive in the Cold Lake and Peace River oil sands regions than those in the Athabasca oil sands, operators in our region would be disadvantaged by an approach that treats all three regions the same…

“The recent downturn in the economy has not been easy for our community. Operators in the Cold lake Oil Sands region have been major employers for our residents and major supporters in the community for over 30 years. Our residents employed in the oil and gas sector take great pride in their work and are able to provide for their families because of the careers they have developed.

“We know that the Operators in Cold lake Oil Sands region and their employees pride themselves as being hard-working and innovative, and constantly seek to improve their environmental performance by implementing the best oil and gas extraction technologies available.

“It is our sincere hope that these new regulations will take this into account and will not disadvantage operations in some oil sands regions over others.”

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