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In letter to Trudeau, Kenney says rejection of Teck Frontier project could be ‘boiling point’ for western alienation

Click to play video 'Alberta premier Kenney’s letter to Trudeau says rejection of Teck Frontier project could be ‘boiling point’ for western alienation' Alberta premier Kenney’s letter to Trudeau says rejection of Teck Frontier project could be ‘boiling point’ for western alienation
WATCH ABOVE: Alberta's premier has penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, warning that the federal government's rejection of the Teck Frontier mine project could be a tipping point for the province. Kendra Slugoski has the details.

Alberta’s premier has penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, warning that the federal government’s rejection of the Teck Frontier mine project could be a tipping point for the province.

“Here in Alberta, it would be interpreted as a rejection of our most important industry and could raise roiling western alienation to a boiling point — something I know your government has been attentive to since the election,” Jason Kenney said in the letter, dated Feb. 5, 2020.

“[The rejection] would send a signal to the international investment community that Canada’s regulatory system is arbitrary, subject to moving and invisible goal posts, and that even the best evidence can be trumped by narrow politics,” Kenney said.
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READ MORE: Fate of Frontier oilsands mine will prove whether Trudeau ‘serious’ about unity: minister

The federal cabinet has until the end of the month to decide on the $20.6-billion megaproject proposed near Wood Buffalo National Park in northeastern Alberta.

The mine, which received a Joint Review Panel approval in 2019, would produce roughly 260,000 barrels of oil per day.

Click to play video 'Kenney has message for Ottawa on Teck Frontier Mine' Kenney has message for Ottawa on Teck Frontier Mine
Kenney has message for Ottawa on Teck Frontier Mine

Teck has also held participation agreements with 14 Alberta First Nations and Métis communities as part of the approval process, Kenney said.

“There is, quite simply, no reason specific to this project that would justify denying federal cabinet approval for the Frontier project.

“Given the level of economic benefits, Teck’s environmental commitments and broad Indigenous support for Frontier, if this project is not approved it would send a chilling signal.”

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As for carbon emissions, the estimate on production from the mine would be four million tonnes per year.

Kenney said that the project would “fit easily” within Alberta’s legislated 100 megatonne cap.

However, he also added that there has been frustration from the Alberta government on the recent federal pledge to get to net-zero emissions — and the lack of detail on how it would achieve that.

“We have not received a clear answer,” Kenney said. “You can imagine how frustrating it is for us, or for a company, genuinely looking for a path to responsible and sustainable development to be met with ambiguous shrugs.”

Teck Resources Ltd.  announced last week that it would also be setting a carbon neutral goal for its operations by 2050.

READ MORE: Mining firm Teck Resources sets target to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050

On Sunday, Trudeau said that cabinet was going through the appropriate processes to determine if approving the Teck Frontier mine project was in the “national interest.”

Click to play video 'Trudeau says they are going through processes to determine if Teck Frontier mine a ‘national interest’' Trudeau says they are going through processes to determine if Teck Frontier mine a ‘national interest’
Trudeau says they are going through processes to determine if Teck Frontier mine a ‘national interest’

“I understand that it’s a project that has a lot of people reflecting on the choice we are about to make,” Trudeau said.

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“We are taking our responsibility seriously to make a decision that’s in the national interest.”

In a handwritten foot note in the letter, Kenney added that he is “happy to discuss this at any time, including the broader issues of energy + the environment.”

With files from Global News’ Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press