The Globe and Mail reports in its Wednesday edition that an unnamed source says Ottawa will exempt non-mining oil sands projects from impact-assessment reviews as long as Alberta's new United Conservative Party government maintains the province's legislated cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands.
The Globe's Shawn McCarthy and Justin Giovannetti write that the source says the exemption will apply despite the fact the previous NDP government never enacted regulations to give force to the emissions cap.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will release a list Wednesday of proposed projects that would be subject to federal review under the Impact Assessment Act.
The government's decision to exempt non-mining oil sands projects -- which use steam and solvents to extract bitumen -- from impact assessments avoids a bruising political battle with new Premier Jason Kenney over the issue and satisfies a key demand of the oil and gas industry regarding the bill.
At his swearing-in Tuesday in Edmonton, Mr. Kenney called the oil sands emissions cap "an academic abstraction," signalling he is neither prepared to enact legislation cancelling it nor pass the regulations needed to give it teeth.
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