Feds to exempt oilsands from new reviews unless Kenney lifts emissions cap

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OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal government is warning the new government in Alberta not to scrap the province’s legal limit on total emissions from oilsands of 100 million tonnes a year.

Ottawa has issued a proposed list of projects that will be subjected to a controversial new environmental-impact assessment process, including major interprovincial pipelines, large hydro dams and offshore wind farms.

The list indicates new in situ oilsands projects won’t have to go through the new review as long the hard cap imposed by former Premier Rachel Notley stays in place.

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Premier Jason Kenney, sworn into office just yesterday, has criticized the cap but says today that there’s enough room for the oilsands to operate that it’s not an immediate concern.

The project list was a big piece missing from Ottawa’s long-promised overhaul of how major new energy projects are assessed for their environmental, health, social and economic impacts.

Several provinces and oil-industry lobbyists have many criticisms of the proposed process, but not knowing what types of projects were going to be included in it prevented them from getting a full understanding of what the new law will do.

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