Canada will consider climate plan in Teck oil project decision: minister – by Isla Binnie (Reuters Canada – December 12, 2019)

MADRID (Reuters) – The government will take into account its plan to make Canada carbon neutral by 2050 when it considers whether to approve Teck Resources Ltd’s plan for a giant oil sands mine, the new environment minister said on Thursday.

Teck wants approval for its C$20.6 billion ($15.5 billion) Frontier project, which involves an open pit mine to eventually produce 260,000 barrels per day (bpd). The mine in northern Alberta would open in 2026 and operate until 2067. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is supposed to decide by the end of February.

Regulators recommended approving the project in July, saying economic benefits outweighed “significant adverse effects” on the environment and indigenous communities.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters he could not “pre-judge” the outcome of a decision that might involve a cabinet vote, “but what I will say is the issue around climate and the integrity of our climate plan will be one of the very significant issues that will be discussed.”

Trudeau, who secured re-election in October, promised Canada would achieve “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050. But he lost his majority in parliament in the vote and failed to win a single seat in Alberta, which produces 80% of Canada’s crude.

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