Alberta mulls tougher carbon rules on oil -report

Thu Apr 4, 2013 11:14am EDT
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* Report says levy could rise to C$40/tonne from C$15

* Minister looking a range of options to meet targets

* Analyst calls amount "not inconsequential"

CALGARY, Alberta, April 4 (Reuters) - Alberta is considering a major increase in the carbon levy it charges oil producers as it seeks to show Washington it is serious about meeting emission-reduction goals, while promoting the contentious Keystone XL pipeline to Texas refineries.

Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen offered the proposal at a meeting in Calgary last week with oil executives and federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, the Globe and Mail newspaper said on Thursday.

Such a move would be in line with comments that the Canadian province's new envoy to Washington made in a February interview with Reuters. David Manning said Alberta may adopt more stringent environmental policies to help producers in the province's oil sands increase access to lucrative markets such as the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Wayne Wood, McQueen's spokesman, did not rule out the possibility of a higher carbon levy, but he said no decision has been made.

"The minister is looking at any number of options, and it's really premature to speculate on any kind of option that might be settled on," Wood said.

Speculation on new moves by Alberta to improve its record on meeting emission reduction targets has increased since U.S. President Barack Obama named John Kerry, seen as a supporter of tougher climate policy, as secretary of state.   Continued...