[Calgary] "The Stelmach government must act now to control the pace of development," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "The province is already paying too great a price for their past 'hands-off' approach to oil sands development."
McGowan points out overcrowded classrooms and hospitals, failing municipal infrastructures, a workforce that is overstressed and workplace injury rates that are rising.
"We want the government to pace development to reduce the social and economic cost of an overheated economy," says McGowan. "Unchecked development will simply hasten the inevitable end of the boom and make the subsequent economic and social costs worse."
McGowan also insists that the government intervene to protect the domestic petrochemical industry. "The government must take a stand against the construction of pipelines designed to send raw bitumen to the U.S.," says McGowan. "Otherwise, all the value-added production will be done south of the border while our own upgrader and processing industry stagnates."
McGowan had no sympathy for producers who demand a free ride to act as they please. "The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has warned of dire consequences of government regulates development," says McGowan. "We say there's too much money to be made for them to walk away".
Government needs to spell out a vision, set the targets and lay down the rules for oil sands development according to McGowan. "We want rules to cap emissions, rules to set the pace of growth and rules to promote a domestic downstream industry. And if companies don't like it - well, we can buy back their leases and give them to someone prepared to play by the rules," says McGowan.
Finally, McGowan wants an immediate end to the current one cent royalty. "We need a higher royalty rate that moves with price," insists McGowan. "The current rate is a joke. We're letting energy companies pick our collective pockets."
Gil McGowan will be addressing the government's Multi-stakeholder Committee on Oilsands Development at 1:15 pm in room 203 of the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary today.
For more information contact:
Gil McGowan, President Bus: (780) 483-3021 Cell: (780) 218-9888