Wednesday , January 20 2021

Whistler request Alberta oilsands company to cover climate change costs causing outrage

Whistler joined a few others. Municipalities calling on the oil and gas industry to pay for budget costs covering climate change-related events, and the response was not courteous.

In a letter dated November 15, addressed to Canadian natural resources in Calgary, Mayor James Crompton asked the company to cover the costs paid by taxpayers to cope with flooding, drought and extreme weather, which Crompton claims was directly caused by CNRL operations.

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"As a city with a population of less than 15,000 people, this cost significantly carry along with costs that affects the effects on winter and summer sports tourism," the letter said.

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"Your industry is aware that its products have a negative impact on climate, but continues to develop new resources."

Calgary Energy Consultant Terry Atam said in a statement to global news that industry workers and supporters are angry at the letter and feel it is unfairly targeted, as people contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

"It is difficult to understand how tourist attraction not only uses but encourages the use of millions of gallons of massive fuel emissions and can cast blame on those emissions on the bodies that provide the fuel," he said.

At least one company, PrairieSky Royalty Ltd., has withdrawn from its annual CIBC Whistler conference in January due to comments by the mayor, according to an internal email received by Global News.

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Mayor Whistler is back

In response to the growing reactions, Crompton released both written and video statements saying he did not intend to hurt anyone or cause companies or industries to feel unwelcome to Whistler. He also acknowledged Etam's claim that the residents of Whistler and tourists also contribute to fossil fuel emissions.

"Our goal was not to ignore our role in climate change, but to encourage change and action in climate change," said the mayor.

"We believe that all levels of government, industries and individuals are responsible for the solution and costs and impacts of climate change."

Social media users have also pointed to the fact that Crompton has made its name as the head of Ridebooker, which offers land transport services across North America.

"Warranty Requirement"

The application is part of an ongoing journey from the West Coast Environmental Law that saw number B.C. Municipalities write fossil fuel companies seeking similar compensation, including Victoria, Saanich, Squamish and Castlegar.

The ministry's website says the campaign was designed to "demand responsibility."

CNRL is the only Canadian company targeted by all the letters so far. Other companies receiving the applications include Hebron, located in California, and Petroleum Petroleum in London.

Some of the letters evoked reactions. Shell wrote back to Royal's visit in February, while companies representing Hebron responded to a letter sent by Highland County.

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The two responses refused to commit to covering the city costs required in letters, but noted that companies are committed to addressing climate change and emphasizing their specific climate strategies.

On December 10, the West Vancouver District published an open letter to all fossil fuel companies seeking the same compensation.

The Council also sent a letter to Prime Minister John Horgan calling on the provincial government to define the legal implications for climate change costs and to hold those companies accountable.

Andrew Gage, a law enforcement lawyer on the West Coast, said it was up to local governments to demand compensation for costs incurred by their taxpayers.

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"The municipalities are on the front line of tackling climate change," Gage said. "They are the ones who need to be safe from the effects – to build higher endings, to deal with areas of wildfire – and they will have to deal with the effects if there is wildfire burning a community.

Comments to the comment from CNRL have gone unanswered.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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