Posted on Mar 24, 2021
UNDER THE COVER OF COVID, KENNEY GOVERNMENT WEAKENED MORE THAN THREE TIMES AS MANY ENVIRONMENTAL RULES THAN ANY OTHER PROVINCE
EDMONTON - Under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason Kenney rolled back 54 environmental rules in Alberta, vastly more than any other jurisdiction in Canada, according to a new study from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
Saskatchewan and the federal government are tied for the second largest number of rule changes at 16. British Columbia and Quebec changed 12 and 13, respectively. Manitoba changed none.
“It’s clear that Jason Kenney used the pandemic as an excuse to roll back critical protections for Alberta’s water, land and air,” said Marlin Schmidt, NDP Critic for Environment and Parks. “This is part of a pattern of dishonest behaviour by Jason Kenney during the pandemic, including his sneaky cancellation of the coal policy and his plan to sell Alberta parks.”
The University of Calgary study raises several pointed criticisms of the Alberta government.
“In some cases, regulators rolled back significant protections, substantially increasing risk of harm to the environment and human health,” wrote Victoria Goodday, the report’s author. “The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), for example, imposed a blanket suspension of all wetland and wildlife monitoring requirements for oilsands projects.”
“Alberta was the only jurisdiction to completely suspend reporting obligations, doing so for a wide swath of environmental approval holders across multiple sectors,” Goodday wrote, and concluded that the government’s failure to require catch-up reporting will lead to data gaps and hinder future monitoring by scientists and regulators.
“While other provinces carefully balanced the pressures of the pandemic on industry, Jason Kenney collapsed Alberta’s environmental monitoring,” Schmidt said. “This will cause long-term damage to Alberta’s reputation as a responsible developer of natural resources, and long-term damage to job creation in sectors that depend on ESG scoring for major investment decisions.”