Alberta Minute: Grid Alert, Evacuation Extended, and Tour Events Begin
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
We’re heading out on our Can't Stop Alberta Tour. In spring, we hosted 6 events across the province, and they were so successful that we’re headed to 24 cities over the next eight weeks. Watch your inbox for more details soon, but for this week, you can find us in Camrose, Fort McMurray, Bonnyville and Lloydminster, followed by a trip to Oyen, Medicine Hat, and Brooks the following week. The events will be casual and fun, with plenty of opportunities for networking and participation. Attendance is free, but if you’re so inclined, you can make a donation to help cover our venue hire costs and our travel expenses. We hope to see you at one or more of the events, and if you're not in the cities listed above, don't worry - we'll have more events to announce elsewhere across the province very soon!
Residents from the Northwest Territories will remain in Alberta for at least another week after the evacuation order was extended until September 11th. In her remarks at the evacuation centre in Edmonton, Northwest Territories Premier Caroline Cochrane said that she shares evacuees’ frustrations and also wants to go home, but that it will take at least 4 or 5 days to get folks there after the fire is under control. Essential workers are being recalled to Yellowknife to pave the way for the return, but getting them back to the city was challenging due to the fire. Thank you to each and every Albertan that has helped our friends to the north!
- New traffic rules, designed to protect roadside workers, are in effect. Drivers in the lane closest to a vehicle with flashing lights are required to slow down to 60 kilometres per hour (or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower), or move over if it’s safe to do so.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault doubled down on his net-zero nonsense - and according to Premier Danielle Smith, “his provocative verbal attacks on Alberta's energy sector”. The CEO of Suncor Energy said that the company has placed a disproportionate emphasis on the energy transition, and needs to refocus its efforts while still working toward lowering emissions. Guilbeault accused the CEO of “basically disengaging from climate change and sustainability”. The federal government intends to publish draft regulations to cap emissions from oil and gas production this fall.
Hot weather led to increased electricity consumption, causing the Alberta Electric System Operator to issue a grid alert, meaning the system was struggling to meet demand. Premier Danielle Smith said it was “critical that Alberta add more base-load power from natural gas and other sources to our electricity grid to protect the reliability and affordability for Albertans”. Smith called the federal government’s plan for a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 unrealistic, and said it was critical to continue increasing natural gas generation while developing other technologies.
- The Province said it expects a $2.4-billion surplus at the end of the fiscal year. Finance Minister Nate Horner said that Alberta’s economic growth remains on track, despite lower oil prices and expensive wildfires. Record population growth of 4.4% means that personal and corporate income taxes will now be about $1.4 billion over budget, offsetting slightly lower oil prices. While the wildfire costs, including firefighting costs and evacuee supports, have yet to be fully tallied, some of that money can be recouped from the federal government.
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