Alberta’s Energy Minister Backs Oil and Gas Drilling Plan

Canada says its logging industry’s emissions are below zero. A new report says they’re actually on par with the oilsands and that Canada’s forests are more than twice as valuable as the United States’ for carbon storage

The environmental group Greenpeace Canada is hoping the new provincial government of Alberta will reconsider its plan to open all of its national parks to drilling.

“If the government continues to support and expand the proposed drill-and-blast open pit energy projects, we’re going to be seeing further expansion of fossil fuel use, more destructive mining projects, more emissions to the atmosphere, more of these dirty coal tar sands projects with more destruction and more destruction of our natural environment,” says Mike Hudema, the group’s Alberta director.

Alberta’s Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd announced last week that she’s backing the Alberta government’s pledge to open up Alberta’s national parks to oil and gas drilling.

“The expansion of Alberta’s national parks is the only policy decision that will take us beyond the limits of the carbon budget,” McCuaig-Boyd said in a written statement.

“This is a matter of great personal and political importance to me.”

Critics, including environmentalists, say oil and gas drilling has a greater impact on the environment than does building a pipeline. They also call the move a step back for climate action.

The move raises the prospect of an oil and gas boom in Alberta, with new exploration projects set to open up previously untouched areas, such as the Parks Canada-owned boreal forest, along with existing ones.

Greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s massive oil sands will also rise, says the environmental group. The oilsands have a carbon footprint equivalent to 20,000 vehicles driving the equivalent amount of distance in a year, it says.

Alberta’s oil, gas and coal producers are responsible for about 12.9%

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