Green projects vs Alberta oil

Staff ~ The Amherst Citizen
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Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong told the Amherst Rotary Club recently that the northern region of Nova Scotia should benefit from the Lower Churchill energy project that will transport hydroelectric power from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia and on to markets in New Brunswick and the United States via undersea cables.

Armstrong is right that there will be benefits for Nova Scotia from the $6.2 billion deal, and he is right that it will help this province free itself from dependence on coal by replacing it with a greener source of energy, appropriately pointing to the tidal energy developments near Parrsboro as another player in this effort.

But where the MP veered off into fantasyland is when he compared the project to the oilsands in Alberta, saying it would rival the oil industry there in energy production. The 824 megawatts of power generated from Muskrat Falls is not likely to put anyone out of work in Alberta, where the oilsands are producing more than 1.31 million barrels of oil per day.

Yes, it is important to find greener energy sources, and these projects are vital to the future of our province. But where they are paling in comparison to Alberta is employment. In 2009, about 136,200 people were directly employed in the mining, oil and gas extraction sector in Alberta, and those numbers are expected to rise as production increases in the coming years.

Aside from the temporary jobs created by the setup of transmission lines and other infrastructure, which is expected to total about 47,800 over six years and will mostly be in Newfoundland, the Lower Churchill project will not match the kind of employment numbers that we see in Alberta.

This project is a very positive development for Atlantic Canada and the country, but let’s keep political hyperbole in check here.

Organizations: Amherst Rotary Club

Geographic location: Alberta, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland New Brunswick United States Parrsboro Atlantic Canada

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  • CYBERCLARK
    March 22, 2011 - 15:57

    All that glitters etc! Alberta has the lowest royalty rates in the world. Our economy and Government responsibilities are run off bottle collections, gambling and our Heritage Trust fund. The latter has been tapped for 70 billion dollars, putting the coin into general operating costs thereby reducing oil royalty paid. The Conservatives chant "Jobs Jobs Jobs" while they rip off our heritage and our business. Note Harper; same deal now pointing out we have the lowest corporate taxes in the G8! Alberta has put the taxpayer on notice we are in for 25 billion dollars of construction including new power lines for export. The streets of Alberta are not paved in gold we are stuck hoping something will change, like Harper's crew and pretty much the rest of humanity at this point in time.