CALGARY — Simon Dyer, policy director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan:
“Today’s announcement is an important milestone in the improved environmental management of the oilsands. Identifying over 1.2 million hectares of new protected conservation areas that will remain free of industrial activity is progress that should be applauded. Through the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, Premier Redford and Minister McQueen have made progress on Alberta’s commitment to responsible oilsands development.
“While a promising start, today’s announcement is just the beginning of the environmental improvements required to ensure responsible oilsands development. Many elements of the regional plan remain incomplete or works-in-progress.
“To make further headway on responsible oilsands development, Alberta will need to accelerate progress on co-management with First Nations, protect woodland caribou habitat, set maximum limits on land impacts and identify limits to water pollution and industrial water use. Beyond the regional plan, we also hope the government of Alberta will bring a similar level of commitment to strengthening climate policy to address growing greenhouse gas pollution from oilsands production.
“Land-use planning will only lead to responsible energy development if such plans are effectively and efficiently implemented, and we look forward to working with the Government of Alberta to ensure this plan delivers on-the-ground improvements.”
Learn more: The Pembina Institute’s backgrounder assessing how the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan delivers on key issues of concern related to water, air and land impacts is available online. Click here to read the backgrounder.