Kenney tells Trudeau there would be ‘devastating impacts’ if Ottawa rejects Teck mine

Premier Jason Kenney cautioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau there would be “devastating impacts” on Alberta’s economy and western alienation, would increase if Ottawa rejects the proposed Teck oilsands project.

According to CBC, Kenney hand-delivered a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland last week. In it, Kenney said he expects the project to be approved because its emissions would be below the 100 megatonnes cap Alberta promised to impose on the oilsands sector.

“There is, quite simply, no reason specific to this project that would justify denying federal cabinet approval for the Frontier project,” said Kenney in the letter to Trudeau.

Kenney said a rejection of the project “could raise Western alienation to a boiling point — something I know your government has been attentive to since the election.”

The proposed Frontier Mine is a 292-square-kilometre open-pit petroleum-mining operation in northern Alberta. The mine is projected to produce about 260,000 barrels of oil a day and generate about $12 billion in federal income and capital taxes when it’s fully operational.

The cabinet has until the end of February to decide if the project will proceed.

Last year the Alberta Energy Regulator and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recommended that the federal environment minister.

The Frontier project was first proposed in 2011 and would create about 7,000 jobs during construction and would employ about 2,500 workers once operational. All 14 local Indigenous communities affected by the project signed support agreements.

On Thursday Reuters reported that if cabinet rejects the Frontier mine federal officials were preparing various funding streams for Alberta.

In a press conference on Friday, Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon told reporters Alberta doesn’t want an aid package if Ottawa turns down the $20-billion Frontier oilsands mine.

“Albertans are not looking for a Justin Trudeau handout. We’re not interested in that. We want Justin Trudeau and the federal government to get out of Albertans’ way, to let hard-working Albertans do what they do best, which is to create prosperity for this province and create prosperity for this country.”

-Photo: Premier Jason Kenny and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a meeting in December 2019. (Govt. of Canada)

-george@albertapressleader.ca

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