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Brian Jean aiming for brand new technique to reclaim inactive oil and gasoline websites

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Alberta Power and Minerals Minister Brian Jean will work on a brand new incentive program aimed toward cleansing up inactive oil and gasoline wells throughout the province, though the specifics stay unclear.

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Jean’s mandate letter from Premier Danielle Smith, launched this week, focuses on defending Alberta’s power pursuits “in opposition to federal overreach,” implementing its emissions discount and power growth plan, and creating a brand new web site cleanup plan.

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The letter directs Jean to develop “a method to successfully incentivize reclamation of inactive legacy oil and pure gasoline websites, and to allow future drilling whereas respecting the precept of polluter pay.”

In an interview with Postmedia, Jean mentioned he’s a “large believer” within the precept, and the province should maintain firms accountable.

“We are going to maintain them to account and they’ll pay for that, and let’s be clear, incentives don’t essentially imply simply monetary incentives,” he mentioned, including particular mechanisms shall be fleshed out in session with Albertans, the trade and specialists.

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“I’m not ruling out something,” he mentioned, including this system may very well be funded by trade.

“I’m going to make use of each device at my disposal to make it possible for it’s accomplished in a manner that doesn’t take the cash out of the pockets of Albertans to resolve this difficulty,” he mentioned.

It comes after Smith proposed $100 million in royalty credit for firms to scrub up websites that they’re already legally chargeable for cleansing up. The legal responsibility administration incentive program, previously known as R-Star, drew heavy criticism that it will undermine the polluter pay precept.

Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, NDP Opposition critic for setting, parks and local weather resilience, informed Postmedia Tuesday the letter’s directive to determine an incentive program whereas additionally respecting polluter pay doesn’t make sense.

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“It’s an entire contradiction,” she mentioned.

Estimates of reclamation and remediation of oil and gasoline liabilities fluctuate, however a current report from Environmental Defence estimates the price to scrub up Canada’s oil and gasoline environmental liabilities is $123 billion.

In keeping with the Alberta Power Regulator, there have been about 464,000 complete wells within the province final yr, with 83,690 listed as inactive.

Jean and Atmosphere and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz, together with Justice Minister Mickey Amery, can even must evaluate the work of the Canadian Power Centre, the warfare room tasked with being a communications arm selling the sector. It drew controversy in its early days after launching in late 2019.

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Schulz mentioned the evaluate is about updating Albertans because the UCP enters its second mandate, and shall be like different routine evaluations.

“We evaluate packages and providers to make it possible for they’re assembly the goals of the federal government, so I believe this can be a nice time,” she mentioned.

Calahoo Stonehouse reiterated the NDP’s place that the warfare room needs to be scrapped.

“If you’ll want to evaluate it to determine it has accomplished nothing however waste cash, go forward and evaluate it,” she mentioned.

Jean shall be reviewing the objectives of the Alberta Power Regulator, “making suggestions to streamline approvals and align insurance policies with the federal government’s objectives of elevated pure useful resource manufacturing, carbon neutrality by 2050, funding in emissions-reduction applied sciences and elevated power export.”

His mandate consists of developing with and tweaking laws to assist entice funding within the hydrogen, ammonia, helium, lithium, liquefied pure gasoline, small modular reactor, geothermal and mineral sectors.

Jean can even be shifting alongside suggestions from the David Yager-led Alberta Power Futures advisory panel.

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