Tories announce new rules for oilsands, coal plants

The Canadian Press: Alexander Panetta - March 11, 2008

OTTAWA: The federal government has announced stricter standards on oilsands projects and coal plants built after 2011 as a key plank of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

After that point the oil-and-gas and coal sectors will be forced to employ carbon capture and storage or other green technologies by 2018 in each of those new developments.

Environment Minister John Baird described the measures as part of a get-tough approach with the oil industry. His critics in opposition and in the environmental movement dismissed that as empty rhetoric.

While the government promises to enforce tough new rules at home, it's been lobbying the U.S. administration to relax the environmental standards of its Energy Independence and Security Act.

"The government claims to care about pollution from the tar sands,'' said NDP Leader Jack Layton. "We hear that today, but let us just look at the truth of the matter, because what the Conservative members are saying does not amount to anything more than hot air.''

The Tories reaffirmed yesterday that 16 different industrial sectors will share similar targets: 18 per cent cuts in emission intensity by 2010, with absolute annual cuts of two per cent thereafter.

The government says those cuts would result in a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases from 2006 levels by 2020. But countries that have respected the Kyoto accord calculate their emissions cuts using 1990 as a baseline year -- not 2006.

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