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MDs and Counties share strong opinions on carbon tax and coal shut down

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Over the past week, the Alberta government has laid out its plans to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030. It’s a move that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties opposes, as shown by a resolution carried at their convention in Edmonton last week.

Members voted to ask the province to keep the plants in operation, while encouraging the industry to find more ways to go green. County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre worries about the province’s reputation.

“How do you create an atmosphere of confidence in foreign investors when you make those kinds of decisions where you’re going to completely close something out after millions of dollars have been invested in it without even considering that they should be able to use the up-to-date technology?”

In the resolution, it’s argued the decision to shut down all coal fired plans without looking at other ways to improve them economically and environmentally is “very short sighted.”

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The AAMDC passed more than 20 resultions at their convention last week, spanning from support for the Northern Gateway Pipeline to asking Canada Post to increase security for community mailboxes. Beaupre says one of the most important called for the province to exempt municipalities from the carbon tax.

“All municipalities are reliant on their equipment that goes out to keep the roads going and school divisions, all of that, so come doing budgeting it’s making it fairly difficult to try and find out how much money extra we have to budget, and really why municipalities as a government service aren’t being exempt.”

While the resolution only calls for municipalities to be exempt, Beaupre says she’d like to the carbon levy cancelled all together. It’s set to come in on January 1st, 2017.

The leaders of MDs and Counties across Alberta are also asking the province to spend more time looking into the ripple effects of their recovery plans for species at risk. While it’s important to make sure these animals have a chance at survival, Beaupre says there could be negative impacts on landowners, industries, and rural communities.

“A lot of those communities in those affected areas are reliant on that industry to keep their communities going. Part of the issue has been whether or not the government has taken a look to see how that’s going to affect them long-term.”

The province is working on a plan to help caribou in the Little Smoky and A La Peche areas that will affect at least the forestry industry in the region. The AAMDC wants to see a socio-economic impact assessment based on all plans in the works.

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