NDP must stop clearcutting of Kananaskis Country and Highwood Pass

Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is calling on the NDP government to stop the clearcutting of Kananaskis Country and Highwood Pass.

“There is a responsible way and a place for logging. This is neither,” says David Swann. “They are rapidly clearing massive swaths of trees from well-known tourist and recreation areas.

“The NDP must show better environmental leadership. They must put a stop to this immediately, review the contracts, and examine other sites.”

Swann first raised concerns about the proposed logging in Question Period in May.

He followed up in a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry on behalf of residents of Black Diamond, Turner Valley and High River, expressing concerns about the pace of the timber harvest. The harvesting of a five-year quota in a single season, the threat to the local economy, and the negative environmental impact on water and wildlife – specifically the endangered cut-throat trout – were raised in the letter.

The Minister replied that all these activities were acceptable and would proceed this month according to plan.

“The government isn’t getting the message,” says Swann. “The municipal councils of Okotoks, Turner Valley and Black Diamond have all asked for delay and review of the licence on the iconic Highwood route. The impact of this clearcutting will be devastating for these communities, and the Minister should heed this clarion call.

“I am also particularly concerned with the threat to the watersheds in the area, which are particularly relevant in this extraordinarily dry summer. Water quality and quantity must be the top priority for the management of the southeastern slopes so as to protect our southern Alberta communities.”

Swann recently surveyed the area to see first-hand the devastating effects of the clearcutting in the region. Photos are available below.

Polling has shown that Albertans recognize the danger the logging activities in this region pose to the local environment and economy. I call on the Minister to visit the affected areas, so he can plainly see for himself that these logging practices are unacceptable.

“This needs to stop before the damage is irreversible.”


NDP government must reinforce polluter pay principle following latest Redwater Energy ruling

In response to the Court of Appeal upholding last year’s Redwater Energy ruling, Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is calling on the NDP government to ensure the ‘polluter pays’ principle is upheld.

“Now that the courts have clearly signaled an insolvent company’s assets cannot be used primarily for remediation of non-producing wells, it is up to the NDP government to ensure reclamation costs are borne by industry and not Alberta taxpayers,” says Swann.

While abandoned oil and gas wells are a rapidly growing problem, the government is also failing to enforce polluter pays on tailings ponds and oil sands mines.

In his July 2015 report, the Auditor General was highly critical of the Mine Financial Security Program (MFSP) for not ensuring that mines hold sufficient cleanup funds. While the Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips accepted the Auditor General’s recommendations, and promised a MFSP review, subsequent government action on the file has been lacking.

“The province seems to be expecting the federal government to swoop in and help cover the cleanup costs, which should be the industry’s responsibility,” says Swann. “Forward thinking and greater financial security is a must if we are going to ensure that energy producers aren’t saddling Alberta taxpayers with massive liabilities.”


Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann addresses Trudeau’s comment on “phasing out” oil sands

Lethbridge, AB (January 13th, 2017):

David Swann and the Alberta Liberals fully support the oil and gas industry and call on Justin Trudeau to clarify his remarks. Alberta’s oil sands industry is both environmentally responsible and generates hundreds of thousands of jobs both here and across Canada.

“All of us, including the oil and gas industry, already recognise that we are in a transition to cleaner energy,” said Swann. “In the current international economic climate the industry does not need any more uncertainty about its future. We need our Prime Minister to not only support this industry, the economic engine of the country, but to communicate that clearly.

“Given Justin Trudeau’s recent pipeline approvals I believe he should be given the benefit of the doubt and a chance to clarify his remarks,” Swann concluded.


Edmonton Journal: Oddly, opposition to NDP’s carbon tax includes proponents of a carbon tax

…Clark voted against the NDP’s Climate Leadership Implementation Act — better known as the carbon tax act — last June.

So did Alberta Liberal interim leader David Swann. He now supports the carbon tax, but grudgingly. He says the NDP has never properly communicated the anticipated effects of the tax, either economically or environmentally….

Read More


David Swann calls for transparency, better communication around the NDP climate plan

Calgary, AB (January 4, 2017):

Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann called on the government today to commit to greater transparency and open communication as they implement their climate legislation.

“While nobody seriously expected the sky to fall on January 1st, Albertans are clearly worried about the effects the new legislation will have on them,” said Swann.

“The NDP has refused to clearly communicate those effects, whether they be on electricity, industry, transportation or consumer goods. Their ‘government knows best’ approach to climate change action has done nothing but encourage suspicion and resentment from Albertans.

“This could easily have been avoided,” Swann continued. “While long-supporting a price on carbon, the Liberal Caucus proposed amendments to the Climate Leadership Act that would have made the environmental and economic impacts of the plan clear to businesses and public. The NDP nevertheless voted them down.

“The science is settled,” Dr. Swann concluded. “Climate change is a real issue primarily caused by human activity. Action on climate change, however, must meet the same standards as any other government action: fair, transparent, and accountable. This government might see less resistance to their policies if they put more weight on those principles.”