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Government establishes group to guide consultation for oil sands environment and development policy


Edmonton... A stakeholder consultation group that includes representatives from environmental organizations, First Nations, industry and government is being asked to revise plans for consulting on policy principles for Alberta’s mineable oil sands area.

“I’ve heard the desire of Albertans to discuss how we develop this valuable provincial resource in a way that protects and sustains the environment,” said Environment Minister Guy Boutilier. “Stakeholders are also expecting us to move forward in a more open and collaborative manner.”

Working with the Cumulative Effects Management Association and other stakeholders, the steering group will review and recommend how consultation on policy principles for the oil sands area should proceed. As part of this process, workshops planned for January and the Internet consultation to gather feedback on the draft Mineable Oil Sands Strategy will be cancelled.

“Incredible development is going on and is forecast for this area. With some $80 billion worth of projects already announced, this area is key to the energy security of Alberta and Canada,” said Energy Minister Greg Melchin. “There is a need to review our policy principles, but how we engage with Albertans to develop them is equally important.”

“Working in partnership with key stakeholders is the best way to find solutions and ensure the public has confidence that development is sustainable,” said Sustainable Resource Development Minister David Coutts.

The group is to deliver a final report to government by March 31, 2006. That report will help determine how consultation on policy development for this area moves forward.


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