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….

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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.”