teck frontier

Plans for Teck Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta scrapped over environmental concerns

The Teck Frontier mine, a contentious and much-talked-about $20.6 billion oilsands project that was slated for Alberta, has just been suddenly cancelled.

Teck Resources Ltd. yesterday pulled the application it had submitted to the federal government, to the shock of the many residents who were in support of the potential mine. It was due to create thousands of jobs over 41 years.

In a two-page letter to Canada's minister of environment and climate change, the B.C.-based company said the main factor in its decision was that "investors and customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change."

Though Teck is proud of the "socially and environmentally responsible project" it had put forth, its president and CEO said that "the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved."

As with the public's feelings on the project in the first place, the responses to the news are divided: many on social media are thanking the company for not ignoring climate change, while others are calling the move a huge blow to the provincial economy.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney issued a formal statement calling Teck's withdrawal "a grave disappointment" to the province and the country, noting the loss of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue.

He went on to blame the federal government for the decision, citing "weeks of federal indecision on the regulatory approval process" for the project, which Ottawa has been reviewing for nearly a decade but was expected to make a final decision on by the end of this week, according to the National Post.

He also noted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "inaction" in the face of the recent Wet'suwet'en solidarity demonstrations and transportation blockades that have made international news, which Kenney says "created more uncertainty for investors looking at Canada."

Kenney ends by hinting at the Prairies' Wexit movement.

"The factors that led to today's decision further weaken national unity," the statement reads. "This news deepens our government's resolve to use every tool available to fight for greater control and autonomy for Alberta within Canada."

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called the news "devastating" for the entire country, saying on Twitter that "Trudeau’s inaction has emboldened radical activists and public safety concerns are now shutting down nation-building energy projects."

Along with the jobs and money the mine just north of Fort McMurray would have generated, it also would have dumped around 4.1 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year — not exactly in line with Canada's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as the country heats up twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Hours before its decision to nix the project, Teck had just come to an agreement with select First Nations groups who had previously had expressed environmental concerns about the mine.

Lead photo by

Eryn Rickard at the Fort McMurray oilsands

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