Thursday , 13 May 2021

Cold Lake and M.D. ramp up pressure on feds to review bill that “weakens outlook on oil patch”

Cold Lake and the M.D. of Bonnyville are going to pressure the federal government to consider the economic harm a proposed federal bill could have with future oil projects in the area.

Cold Lake City Council said in a press release Wednesday that they have passed a motion to ask the Government of Canada to consider the effects that Bill C-69 will have on the Canadian energy sector and the Canadian economy.

They fear the bill could make future pipeline and expansion projects much harder to green light.

“Our energy companies have a long history of responsible resource development and they have provided Canadians with well-paying, meaningful work for decades,” Mayor Craig Copeland said in the release.

“The energy sector is wavering because of uncertainties in the market place and Bill C-69 is serving only to increase that sense of uncertainty.

“This is a time when we need to stand by our industry, not throw additional hurdles in its path.”

Bill C-69 is awaiting third reading in the Senate, and was criticized by Premier Rachel Notley in September.

The bill introduces the brand new Impact Assessment Agency which recognizes in its preamble that “a transparent, efficient and timely decision-making process contributes to a positive investment climate in Canada.”

Basically, the government is overhauling the approval and consultation process.

In August, Imperial Oil’s Cold Lake expansion project passed regulatory hurdles, but nothing has happened since.

That was slated as a potential $2 billion project in 2016.

“There were billions of dollars of projects ready to go in our area but these are being shelved or scaled back due to companies’ forecasts,” Copeland said.

“The approval regime that C-69 outlines is not increasing confidence – rather, it is further weakening the outlook for the oil patch. Broken promises and inaction on pipeline projects are only piling on an already grim situation.”

The City of Cold Lake say they hope that the federal government takes steps to ensure that Canada’s approval process for energy projects is efficient, fair, economically viable and isolated from political decisions.

M.D. to write letter, Town does interviews

The Municipal District of Bonnyville will also write a letter requesting Bill C-69 be reviewed and that the proposed changes made by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) be applied instead.

They made that decision during Wednesday’s council meeting.

“Not only does this affect just pipelines, as a lot of people have said, it affects a lot of the SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) plants. We’ve got numerous plants like that in the M.D. and obviously on the air weapons range. So I thoroughly think we should support this letter,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk during council Wednesday.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers claims that Bill C-69 “will diminish the global competitiveness of Canada’s oil and natural gas industry and be a significant barrier to future investment, putting Canadian jobs at risk,” they said in their Bill C-69 impact assessment.

Both the M.D. and Town were approached by CAPP to do a video interview on the economic impact the declining oil sector has had on the Lakeland area. Both the Mayor Gene Sobolewski and Reeve Greg Sawchuk are featured.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is a lobby group that advocates for the oil and gas industry.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.