Pembina reacts to revised draft of Lower Athabasca Regional Plan

Aug. 29, 2011

CALGARY — Jennifer Grant, director of the Pembina Institute's oilsands program, made the following statement in response to the release today of a revised draft of the Government of Alberta's Lower Athabasca Regional Plan:

"The government's efforts to accommodate industry interests are apparent in this version of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, with the adjustment of some protected areas, and new loopholes introduced last week that allow further exemptions to environmental standards.

"With the federal government signaling last week that writing off 95 per cent of caribou habitat is an acceptable approach as long as thousands of wolves are killed to limit predation, we are not confident that Alberta's delayed caribou and biodiversity strategies will protect the province's ecosystems.

"In this latest draft of the plan, the Alberta government has missed the opportunity to improve on the weaknesses we identified in the previous version, including adequate protection for caribou habitat, allowing logging in some conservation areas, and the lack of limits on water withdrawals from the Athabasca during low-flow periods.

"The Pembina Institute has recommended that the draft regional plan should be reviewed by an independent group of scientists and overhauled to ensure the protection of the regional environment. It now appears these recommendations have been ignored."

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Contact:

Jennifer Grant
Oilsands Program Director
Phone: 403-538-7781

Julia Kilpatrick
Media manager
Phone: 613-265-5579
Twitter: @pembina_media

Background:

The Pembina Institute has outlined the necessary elements of a responsible oilsands plan in our recent report Solving the Puzzle: Responsible Development in the Oilsands.

The Institute's media release in response to the previous version of the draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan is available online.

Find out more about the Alberta Government's new regulations for land-use plan exemption and compensation announced last week.

 

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