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Politicians weigh in after possible CNRL layoff announcement

Local politicians are demanding change from the provincial government after energy giant Canadian Natural Resources Limited warned of layoffs coming to the region. In a letter sent on January 22nd, CNRL says that 500 to 1000 workers primarily in the Lakeland region may be sent packing as the production of oil is curtailed in the province. Other energy companies had warned against the cut back in December.

On Tuesday the MD of Bonnyville released a statement from Reeve Greg Sawchuk as well as Bonnyville Mayor Gene Sobolewski and Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland. Sawchuk says the province changing the guidelines on the curtailment is what is causing the issue.

“While curtailment was requested by the oil industry, the latest proposed revisions are concerning. We want the Alberta government and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd to revisit the revisions based on the economic impact this will have on our communities, and to ensure the curtailment is applied equitably across the industry, instead of placing the emphasis on certain operations.”

Sobolewski says his main concern is keeping people in the Lakeland working.

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“I would also ask the Province to consider all factors in the equation to ensure that jobs in northeast Alberta are protected.”

Copeland worries the layoffs will come at a time where the region has been hit hard already.

“If curtailment is not properly implemented it threatens to be another economic blow in a region already embattled by a prolonged downturn. It is our hope that the government works closely with all industry partners to arrive at an equitable formula.”

United Conservative Party St.Paul-Two Hills- Lac La Biche MLA Dave Hanson and Bonnyville-Cold Lake MLA Scott Cyr issued a statement on Monday calling on the NDP government to address the news.

“The NDP Energy Minister needs to come to our community and explain their change. It is simply not acceptable for the government to hide from a decision that stands to cost hundreds of Albertans in our community their jobs.”

All are asking concerned residents to forward their thoughts to provincial leaders through letters and email.

CNRL says if the demands from the province aren’t changed by February they may have to shut down their ECHO pipeline. The line sends heavy crude from the Lakeland to a blending facility near Hardisty.

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