INCREASING THE ALBERTA INNOVATES BUDGET WITH A FOCUS ON MATERIAL SCIENCES
EXPANDING REFINING IN ALBERTA
ETHICAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
Moratorium on expansion of oil sands
o The Green Party of Alberta would place a moratorium on additional oil sands
projects until the impacts of existing and approved projects on the environment, infrastructure and society are assessed and an overall development policy is
o Any expansion of the oil sands would also be contingent upon there being
negotiated a comprehensive, global plan to address climate change aimed at
keeping the world below a 2 degree C temperature rise;
o The net result of these changes and others is there would be no need for additional export pipelines;
Phasing out the use of coal for electric power generation, with the goal of complete elimination by 2030:
o Greens would replace coal generation with renewable power, improved
efficiency, small-scale co-generation, demand management, and natural-gas
The Green Party would set a goal of a 50% renewably-powered grid by 2030. We would provide economic incentives for the transition through a combination of carbon tax revenues, feed-in tariffs, tax incentives, and regulation;
The Green Party of Alberta would give preference to decentralized power which would decrease the need for long-distance transport from large, centralized power plants;
ADOPTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL BILL OF RIGHTS
Alberta’s ecosystems and wildlife habitat have been nickle-and-dimed nearly to death. It’s time Albertans had stronger legal tools to protect the environment;
Greens would adopt an Environmental Bill of Rights to confer substantive rights – such as the right to a safe, healthy and unimpaired environment – and would impose a duty on the minister of the environment to protect these rights. It would also confer procedural rights, such as the right to environmental information and the right to go to court to enforce all these rights;
An Environmental Bill of Rights could be used to prevent measures that are difficult to oppose in any other way, such as the sale by the government of energy leases to endangered caribou habitat;
This Bill of Rights would not have constitutional status – at least not initially – but would, like the Alberta Human Rights Act, have priority over all other provincial legislation;
Alberta has to deal much better with both quality and quantity issues connected with this most vital resource. The Green Party of Alberta endorses the July 28, 2010 United Nations resolution recognizing the human right to safe, clean drinking water and sanitation. Greens support adoption of a water management plan that ensures the health of our seven watersheds, including adequate water flows throughout the year;
Greens support regulated standards for water usage, for the retention and restoration of wetlands and riparian margins, and for the density of all linear developments (roads, utility corridors, pipelines, railways, power lines, telecom infrastructure, rights of way and the like) within our watersheds to minimize the harm resulting from these facilities. Greens also support careful monitoring to prevent pollution caused by industry and eutrophication due to farm effluent;
SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
All environmental protection rules, including those connected with the water policy provisions set out above, should be strictly enforced. Greens would ensure sufficient staff and other resources to carry out that enforcement;
Greens support application of the precautionary principle to all regulation. As a result, because the onus would be shifted to development proponents to show harm will not occur if their proposals go ahead, many fewer dangerous proposals would be approved;
Stricter enforcement of environmental laws would greatly reduce the harm being done, for example, by high-pressure fracking, across the province;
LEADERSHIP ON TRANSITION TO A SMART ECONOMY
Greens would use revenues from a real carbon tax to support development of renewable energy resources – solar, wind and geothermal – and to support other green innovation and creation of green jobs;
The challenge to change directions is a broad one impacting many aspects of life in the province; accordingly Greens would create a Provincial Sustainability Transition Strategy;
Part of that strategy would be to have the province work at the local level, e.g. with municipal economic development agencies, on diversification which would emphasize affordable housing, renewable energy, zero waste, co-operatives and social enterprise development. These local initiatives would be coordinated with the re-imagining of inner-city industrial lands;
In the result, Alberta could proudly present itself to the world as a leader in the move away from intensive hydrocarbon dependency to a sustainable path;
SUSTAINABLE TOWNS AND CITIES
Alberta needs a provincial framework which sets targets to achieve greater sustainability in our cities and towns. For example, the framework could include density targets –which would speak to the possibility of such things as secondary suites – diversity of land-use targets, so we have more vibrant towns and cities, creativity targets, for example, to bring innovative housing forms such as co-housing to fruition and “sense of place”, such as walkability, goals;
Greens support empowering municipalities to require a percentage of affordable units in multiple-housing developments. This is called “inclusive zoning”;
Alberta also needs a framework for achieving the physical sustainability of towns and cities, for example, requirements for anti-flooding measures, such as minimizing the use of non-porous materials;
Greens support the idea that the basis of property tax should not be confined to market value but should also include “ecological footprint”;
A Clean and Health Tomorrow
We will continue to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Climate Leadership Plan, as part of an overall strategy to combat climate change.
We will meet our goals of achieving a phase-out of coal generation by 2030. We will continue to add more renewable energy to the electricity system and will meet our target of 30% of electricity generation by 2030.
We will achieve a 45% reduction in methane emissions by 2025.
We will keep the firm cap on oil sands carbon emissions and work with industry to build upon its innovations to keep the industry strong and competitive.
We will build flood protection on the Bow River and complete the Springbank dam to protect Calgarians against a catastrophic flood.
We will employ the best science and prevention techniques to tackle the pine beetle infestation in an effort to slow and halt its movement eastward.
To give landowners more certainty, we will implement clear timelines for when companies need to clean up their abandoned oil and gas wells and require them to justify delays in reclaiming sites. We will also implement new corporate health measures on asset sales to prevent liability dumping as we continue to work with 38 RachelNotley.ca industry and the Orphan Wells Association to accelerate remediation of the orphan wells inventory.
We will develop a Clean Lakes Strategy to improve lake watershed management with a goal of reducing blue-green algae blooms and protecting vulnerable shorelines so Albertans can continue to enjoy our many lakes.
We will partner with outdoor recreation groups to improve recreation infrastructure such as trails, staging areas and docks to create better access to Alberta’s wilderness areas.
We will commit to multi-year, stable funding for watershed councils and land trust organizations so they can be more effective at protecting our water and vulnerable lands.
We will reduce barriers to the creation of land trusts to support voluntary land conservation across the province.
Conserving our Environment
• Introduce an Alberta Trails Act to increase awareness about and encourage the sustainable use of trails, enhance trails and trail experiences, and protect trails for future generations
• Increase funding by 50% ($5 million) to the Alberta Land Trust Grant Program that conserves ecologically important areas, and preserve other program and policy priorities
• Protect creeks and streams on the Eastern Slopes by adding $1 million in funding (tripling provincial funding from $531,000) to the Alberta Riparian Habitat Protection Society’s “Cows and Fish” Program, while seeking matching funds from the private sector
• Apply a mandatory $30 trail permit fee to Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and camping trailers to pay for restoring and creating OHV trails and preventing damage in Alberta’s great outdoors, and to hire additional enforcement officers
• Implement a balanced back country land use plan to ensure all Albertans can enjoy public lands and appreciate the wilderness
• Review Alberta Environment and Parks legislation to modernize it for the 21st century Alberta Strong & Free 89
• Improve data collection on environmental outcomes relating to parks and public lands to ensure these lands meet the needs of Albertans in the 21st century in an environmentally sustainable way
• Ensure that more department staff work in the outdoors and with local stakeholders, including facilitating visitor enjoyment of the back country and conducting environmental monitoring
• Strengthen partnerships with non-profit park societies across Alberta, including setting aside $1 million over four years to pilot an expanded role with park societies
• Ensure that all major economic development proposals continue to be subject to mandatory environmental impact assessments
• Ensure that in the future, all major environmental protection proposals will be subject to mandatory social-economic impact assessments to allow the government to strike the appropriate balance between economic growth and environmental protection
• Encourage and increase the use of development credits and conservation offsets in provincial development policy
• Create statutory tort action for adversely affected downstream private landowners, so they can more easily deal with illegal drainage of wetlands - specifically to address landowners whose property/crops are flooded/ damaged because of a neighbour’s or government’s illegal drainage of adjacent wetland
• Enforce actions against “trespass farming”, i.e., protect 66-foot-wide public right of ways against conversion to crops or drainage of ditches next to rural roads
• Allocate $10 million over two years to create the Big Island Provincial Park along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River in Southwest Edmonton
Renewing Alberta's Forestry Sector
• Ensure that forest companies have long-term access to a sustainable fibre supply with our Forest Jobs Guarantee, including current quotas and forest management agreements
• Offset federally or court ordered policies that inhibit access to fibre with access to an equal or larger area for forestry in the same region
• Support environmentally sustainable forestry practices by working with Alberta’s forestry companies to optimize land management practices
• Reverse four years of NDP reductions in the fight against the Mountain Pine Beetle by increasing funding by $5 million to $30 million annually 40 Alberta Strong & Free
• Defend Alberta’s forest sector and fight for Alberta’s proper national share of trade-allocated export quotas
• Direct Alberta’s foreign trade offices to work with forestry companies to improve export opportunities, especially in Asia
• Immediately form a Caribou Range Task Force of local municipal governments, the Northwest Species at Risk Committee, forestry and other industries, Indigenous representatives, and habitat scientists to review the Alberta Caribou Draft Plan
• Ensure that the province’s land use consultations and planning are completed before any new long-term decisions are made on habitat protection