Current majority government:
Premier: The Honourable Danielle Smith, United Conservative Party
Number of Members of Legislative Assembly in AB: 87 seats
United Conservative Party: 48
New Democratic Party: 38
Find your Member of the Legislative Assembly: here.
Environmental stance of majority party:
Premier Danielle Smith has announced a new attack on the federal government’s carbon tax, despite the issue being settled in a 6-3 decision declaring the carbon tax constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. Smith claims that this re-challenge will be a method to reduce the cost of living for citizens of Alberta, due to the dramatic increase in fuel prices stemming from global insecurity and the war in the Ukraine (3). Smith has also declared her intentions to develop an entirely ‘made-in-Alberta’ policy to replace the federal carbon tax (4).
Percentage of 2020/2021 budget estimated to be allocated to the environment:
Total 2023-2024 Estimated Budget: $64,256,000,000
Total 2022-2023 Estimated Spending: $63,031,000,000
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $984,000,000 (1.53% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $1,464,000,000 (2.32% of the budget)
$489,000,000 projected funding decrease from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Environment and Protected Areas:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $554,000,000 (0.86% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $523,000,000 (0.83% of the budget)
$31,000,000 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Forestry, Parks, and Tourism:
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $435,000,000 (0.68% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $581,000,000 (0.92% of the budget)
$146,000,000 projected funding decrease from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
Estimated Budget for 2023-2024: $230,000,000 (0.36% of the budget)
Estimated 2022-2023 Spending: $207,000,000 (0.33% of the budget0
$23,000,000 projected funding increase from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024 (5)
Main provincial-level legislation for environment protection:
Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (2000):
Broad act meant to regulate common waste products and pollutants (6).
Oil Sands Emissions Limit Act (2016):
An Act setting out a distinct greenhouse gas emissions limit for the oil sands of 100 megatonnes (7).
An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax (2019):
Repealed the Environmental Leadership Act which imposed a Provincial carbon tax on carbon emissions in Alberta (8).
Emissions Management and Climate Resilience Act (2022):
An Act setting out the governmental actions to manage greenhouse gas emissions coming from the province and mandating reports from emitters (9).
Conservation and Reclamation Regulation (2022):
The guidelines by which land is preserved and restored for the conservation of species and ecosystems, as dictated under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (10).
Forest Reserves Act (2021):
An Act verifying the locations of the province’s forest reserves, and establishing the parameters for amending these boundaries (11)
Water Act (2021):
An Act establishing the requirement of a management framework and plans committed to the conservation of water resources across the province (12).
Specific government-based environmental programs:
Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (13)
Sets benchmark on carbon emissions for carbon-emitting industries to follow.
Capping Oil Sands Emissions (14)
Based on two major goals: “An oil sands-specific output-based allocation approach,” and “A legislated emissions limit on the oil sands.”
Renewable Fuels Standard (15)
Requires commercial fuel producers and importers to blend renewable products into their fuels.
Specified Gas Reporting Regulation (16)
Requires facilities which emit large amounts of GHGs to report their emissions to the Government.
Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) System (17)
Helps industrial facilities innovate and invest in renewable technology.
Site Rehabilitation Program (18):
Contracts are provided to oil workers for the restoration of former oil and gas industry sites that are no longer in use.
Next election date:
The next provincial election for Alberta is scheduled to occur on or before May 29, 2023 (20)
All exploration projects for oil, gas, metallic and industrial minerals require approval from the Ministry of Environment and Parks (21).
A government study found that from 1990 to 2020, greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands increased by 437%, likely due to increased on site production coming from the area. The same study found that Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 55%, making it the biggest emitter of all the provinces and territories (22).
Former Premier Jason Kenney is currently being sued by five environmental organizations in the province for defamation after the provincial government funded a $3.5 million inquiry into the finances of these organizations, specifically the amount of funding each group was getting from countries outside of what is currently Canada, calling out the Premier’s hypocrisy considering the amount of non-Canadian finances contributing to the oil and gas industry (23).
The environmental groups pursuing the lawsuit are seeking $15,000 payments for each organization, as well as an additional $500,000 in damages from Kenney. Kenney’s legal team has recently filed a motion to get the case dismissed, and the judge has reserved her decision (24).