Nathan Lemphers, policy analyst with the Pembina Institute, responded to the Government of Alberta announcement of a new oilsands mine reclamation security policy.
On the new Mine Financial Security Program:
"Although this reclamation security policy has some improvements in transparency over the previous version, one of the fundamental principles of this policy is flawed — that the assets of the mine, which created these liabilities in the first place, can be used to pay for the cleanup.
"Under the new security program, the amount of reclamation security collected will remain constant for at least 10 years, while oilsands production and liabilities are set to double in the same period. The current unaccounted liabilities are upwards of $15 billion. It makes no sense to lower the amount collected from industry in the short term even further.
"The ability to penalize companies for lack of reclamation progress is an important new element, but we are concerned Alberta is still not collecting enough reclamation security overall to protect citizens."
On improved reclamation reporting:
"The proposed reclamation reporting process provides much-needed clarity to industry on the reclamation expectations required of them. Now the real challenge is to increase the rate of on-the-ground reclamation."
The Pembina Institute is a non-partisan sustainable energy think tank.
Technical and Policy Analyst, Oilsands, Pembina Institute
Phone: 403-269-3344 ext 124
- Pembina report on oilsands mine reclamation liability.
- Pembina blog on the Royal Society of Canada oilsands report and its take on oilsands liability management.
- Pembina blog on the Alberta Government putting industry interest ahead of public interest on oilsands liability management.