With Western Canadian Select trading at a little over a buck today, Premier Jason Kenney, Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon will be announcing actions to support the energy sector and economy. Follow along for details. #ableg
Now underway, beginning with the Premier. Says the province is facing a triple threat: Health crisis, global recession, oil and gas downturn.
Outlining some past actions taken already. Adds the TMX pipeline deal will assist in creating jobs. Construction is underway as well.
Today, they are announcing a $1 billion wellsite rehabilitation program, to launch on May 1. This will create jobs to fix abandoned wells left behind by negligent or bankrupt companies. The money is tied to a national announcement made last week concerning orphan wells
Kenney hopes this will create fast jobs. Province is hoping there will be a delay on implementing the clean fuel standard which he feels will harm the faltering oil industry.
Mention of the rent supports announced by the feds, which go towards commercial tenants. Kenney hopes this will assist small and medium sized businesses. Province will also help top up wages for essential workers like healthcare and first responders.
And, there is a discussion with US officials on a North American strategy for energy. This will have a focus on oil, not renewables. Says relationship with the US is even more important now
Another announcement, Alberta has named a representative to occupy an office in Washington DC. Former Edmonton MP James Rajotte. He will lobby American representatives about Alberta energy interests. Term begins May 1.
Minister Savage up now. Detailing wellsite rehab project. Provides grants to service companies that do the reclamation work. May create 5,300 jobs.
Savage suggests this will help all sectors of the economy, even restaurants and hotels somehow.
There will be future rounds of similar funding. But starting May 1, companies can apply for grants online through the province's website. Savage believes the payments can start the same day.
Minister Nixon speaking now. In addition to the over $1 billion, the feds also brought in $750 million in loans for methane reduction. Large portion will go to Alberta. Nixon says the province is on the right track for emission reductions, fits with TIER program
Questions now. How will this program work and how does this jive with the fact companies should be paying for their own cleanup? Savage says this is about fast job creation. Some reclamation will be fully paid, others will be half or 25 per cent. Based on company's ability to pay
Can landowners not being paid by companies get some cash too? Also what is Mr. Rajotte's role in DC? Yes, some landowners can opt in to prioritize sites and get a bit extra help.
On second question, Mr. Rajotte is filling a vacant position and will be the senior representative for Alberta. Primary interface with Congress and Administration. Main mandate will be to amplify discussion around that North American energy strategy.
He will help ensure Keystone XL is completed, advocate for how important Alberta oil and gas is to America as well.
I ask about a transition to renewables, and if Alberta has spoken to anyone advocating to a Green New Deal. Kenney says this is "a pie in the sky ideological scheme." Does not believe transitioning will create jobs. Now he is criticizing me directly and questioning my credentials
"Sounds like you work for The Tyee." Wow
Kenney directly says he will not work with anyone proposing "a fantasy" of renewable transitions.
Kenney left abruptly after my question. Savage asked about wellsite liability. Process slowed down due to virus, and the focus is on jobs right now
Savage expects the work to get underway very quickly, and thinks many companies will have contracts ready to go immediately.
What about larger companies? Savage says they're looking for some more federal support on that, hopes for some more solid liquidity on that coming forward.
Question about pausing consultation with indigenous groups on projects. Nixon says they do need to move forward with projects, but the consultations are changing a bit due to the virus. Says the government is working to figure out creative ways to get their perspectives.
Last question relates to support for renters (not commercial). Nixon says they will have to defer to other ministries such as Service Alberta.
And we are done! An interesting one here for me personally haha
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