Canadian emission rules target new oil sands plants

Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:02am EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Canada announced new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on Monday, targeting future oil sands facilities and power plants, in a plan immediately derided by environmentalists as too little, too late.

Oil sands facilities that go into operation starting in 2012 will be required to capture and store the bulk of their emissions of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for climate change, the Conservative government said.

Existing facilities -- which process the tar-like bitumen from Alberta's massive oil sands into refinery-ready light crude -- and those that start operating before the end of 2011 will have to reduce emissions using cleaner fuels according to the rules that will be finalized next year.

"The oils sands (are) an important national resource but we we've got to expand (them) in an environmentally friendly way," Environment Minister John Baird said in Ottawa.

The rules are needed for Canada to meet its target for reducing greenhouse gases by 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020 -- a plan that has been panned as inadequate by many environmental groups.

The government also said it will ban the building of new "dirty" coal-fired power plants starting in 2012, with new generating stations required to have carbon capture and storage capacity ready and deployed.

"There is no future for dirty coal," Baird said.

The new plan also confirmed last year's announcement that Ottawa will establish a carbon emissions trading market, including a carbon offset system to help establish a market price for carbon.   Continued...

<p>In this file photo smoke rises from stacks at the Coal-fired Nanticoke Generating Station, owned by Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke, February 28, 2007. New oilsands and coal-fired electricity plants in Canada will have to capture and store the bulk of their greenhouse gases as part of new regulations due out this week, a Canadian newspaper reported on Monday. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>