Politicians raise concerns about carbon pricing benefits given to oilsands companies

·1 min read

EDMONTON — Federal and provincial politicians are raising questions about Alberta government support provided to profitable oilsands companies that say carbon pricing hurts their competitiveness.

A recently released Alberta government document lists oilsands producers that have benefitted from a 2018 program designed to soften the blow of carbon pricing for companies whose competitors don't pay those costs.

The program allows successful applicants to meet reduction targets through a greater emphasis on offsets, apply for emissions reduction grants or simply emit more carbon.

The document shows the only company that has benefitted from the program every year between 2018 and 2020 is Canadian Natural Resources Limited, which declared more than $2 billion in profits in the third quarter of 2021.

Alberta New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt says the province must be more transparent, pointing out the document doesn't say what benefits CNRL received, how big they were or how they were justified.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says his office is looking into how the program was used.

He says if problems are found, it could have an effect on the agreement between Alberta and Ottawa on carbon pricing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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