October 18, 2016 5:58 pm

Greenpeace opposes carbon tax grants for oilsands industry researchers

A haul truck carrying a full load drives at an Alberta oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 9, 2008.

Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press

Environmentalist Keith Stewart of Greenpeace says he strongly disagrees with a suggestion by the head of an oilsands industry research consortium that it’s well placed to help spend grants paid for by Alberta carbon taxes.

CEO Dan Wicklum of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance says it would be “logical” for Alberta’s NDP government to consider environmental research funding initiatives or partnerships with the alliance because of its expertise in identifying where the industry needs to improve.

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Stewart says carbon tax funding should go directly to projects like community-based solar energy facilities and better public transit, not be spent to subsidize big oil companies that don’t need help.

COSIA’s 13 members are industrial giants who account for 90 per cent of Canada’s oilsands production. The alliance was formed four years ago to allow the members to share research that lessens their environmental impact.

Alberta announced last November it will have a $20-per-tonne carbon levy in place next year, rising to $30 a tonne in 2018.

READ MORE: Alberta’s oil and gas industry stays competitive with carbon tax: energy minister

It says it expects to raise $9.6 billion over the next five years, of which $3.4 billion will be earmarked for large-scale renewable energy, bioenergy and environmental technology. Implementation details have yet to be announced.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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