Scrapping oilsands emissions cap not a priority: Kenney

Image: Cenovus Energy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney opposes the oilsands emissions cap put in place by the previous government, but it’s not a priority to address, he told reporters on Wednesday.

Kenney and energy minister Sonya Savage held a press conference to discuss their government proclaiming Bill 12, the so-called “turn-off-the-taps” act.

Also on Wednesday, Ottawa released its long-awaited “project list” of developments that would be considered under its proposed Bill C-69 review legislation.

Unless a “hard cap” is in place for emissions growth, in situ oilsands projects of more than approximately 12,000 bbls/d would be included, the government’s discussion paper says.

In November 2016, the NDP government under Rachel Notley legislated a 100-megatonne per year emissions limit on the oilsands, allowing an increase from approximately 70 megatonnes today.

If C-69 is passed in “anything like its current form,” Alberta will challenge the bill’s constitutionality, Kenney said. That includes its provisions on in situ oilsands development.

The cap on oilsands emissions, however, is not a pressing concern.

“Frankly I’ve never understood why Canada is the only major oil and gas producer in the world to put a cap on its prosperity and its production. I might be more open to a cap on the emissions if I saw Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Russia, and the United States capping themselves, but having said that, we have a lot of other irons in the fire,” Kenney said.

“Right now the whole question of the emissions cap is academic because we are nowhere close to hitting it, so for us, that is not a fight that we’re going to get into at this point.”

Kenney and Savage will be in Ottawa today testifying at the senate hearing considering Bill C-69, as well as meeting with Primer Minister Justin Trudeau.