Wall Urged To Develop Land Use Plan For Oil Sands

Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 15:04



An academic is responding to recent comments made by Premier Brad Wall over the future of the oil sands in northwest Saskatchewan.


Last week, the premier said he wasn’t sure implementing a land use plan for the area was necessary before industrial development took place.


Wall said over-regulation could potentially deter investment in the oil sands, and he doesn’t want to block development before it even begins.


However, Dr. Jeremy Rayner of the University of Regina says he is not sure Wall is seeing the picture clearly.


Rayner believes creating an integrated land use plan for the region would make sense on a number of levels.


He says it is very important to have a regulatory framework in place to look at the scale and intensity of any oil sands operation, and the kinds of long-term impacts it could have on the environment.


Rayner adds it makes sense for government to encourage investment in its natural resources, and he can see the logic of tax incentives and royalty breaks.


But he says government should know the pace at which these developments are to proceed.


Otherwise, he argues the volatility of oil prices could prompt too much activity at one time — which could have serious effects on the environment.