Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is reacting to the Liberals’ announcement to phase out the use of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the new goal is to make sure 90 per cent of Canada’s electricity comes from sustainable sources by that time – up from 80 per cent today.
Here is Premier Brad Wall’s statement:
“At the First Ministers’ meeting in Vancouver in March, the Prime Minister agreed to work together with the provinces to develop a pan-Canadian approach to climate change that would be discussed and finalized at the next First Ministers’ meeting in the fall, which has now been set for early December.
The federal government has now violated that commitment for a second time by making its second major policy announcement in advance of the First Ministers’ meeting in December – the announcement last month of a national carbon tax and now today’s announcement of an accelerated phase out of coal-fired electrical generation.
These actions have severely undermined the December meeting and have exposed the Prime Minister’s disingenuous commitment to federal-provincial collaboration.
Saskatchewan will be evaluating both the environmental and the economic impact on our province of today’s federal government announcement.
We will continue to strongly oppose any attempt to impose a federal carbon tax on Saskatchewan and will not support any agreement at the December meeting unless the proposed federal carbon tax is withdrawn.”
Environmental groups urge Wall to ‘move quickly’
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society says the provincial government can – and must – accelerate the phase out of coal use in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re pleased to see the federal government moving in this direction,” said Peter Prebble with the society.
“The phase out of coal is a significant undertaking, but it’s also an undertaking that for years the government of Saskatchewan has been warned it would have to do.”
Prebble said greener options like hydro, wind, solar and bio mass are viable alternatives that are capable of replacing the province’s coal fired plants.
The Sask Party government unveiled an ambitious plan last year to double the province’s renewable energy capacity in 15 years; however, Prebble said there’s room to do more without breaking the bank.
Prebble pointed to the cogeneration station at the Cory Potash mine as a cost effective alternative that could be expanded to other mines in the province.
“One way of looking at it is what is the cost of doing business as usual – significant health costs and significant costs in terms of environmental damage associated with our current path.”
Prebble said the province can offload some of the infrastructure costs by seeking help from the federal government.
“That federal money is almost certain to be on the table and we want to make sure Saskatchewan gets its fair share,” Prebble said.
“I hope the Wall government will move quickly.”