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Why the government must reject the Teck Frontier mine

Today in the House of Commons during Question Period I asked the government the following question:

This government is considering approving the Teck Frontier Mine in Northern Alberta. It will become one of the largest oil sands mines in Canada and generate a massive increase in carbon emissions, destroying nearly 3,000 hectares of old growth forest and 14,000 hectares of wetlands. Some affected First Nations were not consulted because they are in the Northwest Territories. Will the government do the right thing and say no to Teck Frontier?

As I outlined in my blog post yesterday, our government is about to make a decision on whether or not to approve one of the largest open pit oil sands mega-mines in Canada, the Teck Frontier mine.

According to an analysis by the Pembina Institute, annual carbon emissions from the Teck Frontier mine would be approximately six megatonnes. Alberta's current annual emissions are around 80Mt, and "already approved projects will push that number to 130 Mt". Add another six megatonnes and that's about a 70% increase from where we're at today.

This mine would have a 40 year lifespan, and the dilbit (diluted bitumen) output would take up 50% of the increased capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

We are in a climate emergency. Approving new fossil fuel mega projects is not something our government should even be considering, and yet...

A joint provincial-federal review panel looking at the impacts of this proposed mine found that it would have irreversible negative impacts on the environment and significant adverse effects on First Nations, but recommended to approve it anyway because it is in the "public interest."

Last week I met Grand Chief George Mackenzie of Tlicho First Nation, and Chief Gerry Cheezie of Smith's Landing First Nation at the AFN Parliamentary reception. They talked with me about their opposition to the Teck Frontier mine. Their communities are located downstream from the proposed project and will be directly impacted, but because they are in the Northwest Territories, and not Alberta, no consultation process took place! This is unacceptable.

If the Teck Frontier mine proceeds it will further threaten the endangered Woodland Caribou, and destroy a large portion of the range of the Ronald Lake Bison herd. This mega mine would be located just 25km south of Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site that is already in danger of being delisted due to environmental degradation.

The government must not approve the Teck Frontier mine. We must do what’s right by investing in projects that serve both our environment and our economy. Have we learned nothing from the Alberta jobs crisis? The oil sands aren’t the answer! We have to stop shovelling money into fossil fuel development and dubious pipeline projects and offer oil workers a just transition to secure, clean, well-paid jobs in the Green economy.

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