Teck Resources shares down after company pulls Frontier oilsands project

Andrew Cummings
February 26, 2020

A federal-provincial review panel found past year that the project would have "significant adverse environmental effects", including the "irreversible" destruction of peatland, impacts on indigenous groups, harm to the wood buffalo and the loss of habitat for at-risk species until at least 2181. Buying off a project like Trans Mountain is not enough. Trudeau campaigned on a pledge to get Canada to net zero emissions by 2050.

While the government says it is continuing to fund health and education as before, the Opposition NDP says program changes coupled with growth and inflation are effectively creating multimillion-dollar cuts to frontline services.

In a statement, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce pointed to Canada's need to balance climate policy with its commitment to support resource development. Pipeline and drilling initiatives in the United States and Canada, the most important and fourth-largest oil producers on the earth, have been halted or delayed as a result of opposition to power improvement.

On Friday, Canadian author Alice Munro, biologist Jack W. Szostak and 40 other Nobel Prize winners from around the world wrote an open letter to Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland urging them to deny the plan and all expansions of the fossil-fuel sector.

"In Canada, getting an energy infrastructure project approved and implemented is a real challenge, even when the project meets all legal and regulatory requirements". Oil prices are now low, and tar sands are expensive to extract. "I would expect some smaller projects would have a better chance going through". Suncor earlier this month took a $2.8-billion write-down due to low oil prices.

In their statement Sunday, Wilkinson and O'Regan said they appreciate the decision Teck made was a hard one and appeared to keep the door open to rejuvenate this project or others in the future.

"And, while Teck clearly didn't want to get caught up in the climate wars battering other major projects, it seems clear that their project was on shaky economic ground, and a decision to withdraw was substantively not much different from what would likely have been a decision not to proceed in the foreseeable future in any event", he said.

The company has strangely been left in limbo since June 2018, which is when the Alberta Energy Regulator gave its blessing to the Rigel project.

The cancellation has drawn ire from the Conservatives, who've spent the past few weeks criticizing the federal government for failure to end the rail blockades.

"Right now, the market is saying no", he said. "So it would not just be the government".

The slump in oil prices means the promised economic benefits are more modest than they were when Teck made its proposal, Leach said. He said the government should take that into account. Newer, smaller projects, while more efficient, still use a lot of energy to extract the oil with the help of steam.

© Jason Franson/AP Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs block a Canadian National Railway line west of Edmonton, Alberta, on Wednesday.

"It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority", the premier said. Failing to approve the project, he said, would have a "concerning" effect on those efforts and also discourage foreign investment.

This bill is around protecting critical infrastructure and comes in the wake of expanded protests in opposition to pipeline protests and including actions such as rail blockades.

Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Metis, said in a statement that the political treatment of the project had been "deplorable". "They needed more private sector involvement (to finance it), and of course they needed the pipeline".

Wilkinson has been signalling for weeks that cabinet's discussion would include the fact that Alberta has not set specific greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, and in recent days specifically asked the Alberta government to enforce its cap on emissions from the oilsands. Support is highest in the prairie provinces.

"It certainly makes things, politically, quite tricky for the Trudeau government as it tries to navigate both politically and from a policy perspective", said Shachi Kurl, the institute's executive director.

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