Calumet group hears from Pembina Institute

By Charles Tweed

The Calumet Synergy Association (CSA) held its monthly meeting March 3. The CSA is an open group that brings landowners, oil company representatives, and public groups together to share information and knowledge relating to existing and proposed energy development.

Matt McCulloch, director of consulting services from The Pembina Institute was first on the agenda.

He spoke on the philosophy and directives of the organization and addressed an issue it has faced repeatedly in the past.

“We’re not only this advocacy group but we have this consulting side and it makes up a different strategy that is unique to Canada, and unique to environmental groups,” said McCulloch. “We’ve been accused of duplicity, of being conflicted or confused. We’re OK admitting that were outright conflicted in some areas —but we don’t necessarily think we are confused.”

Ethanol was another subject McCulloch touched on.

“Alberta, as of April, will need five per cent ethanol in their gasoline — a lot of it will be imported into the province and a lot of companies are saying, ‘Hey let’s start producing this here.’ and that’s where you guys come in because it’s going to happen right in your backyard,” said McCulloch.

Ethanol continues to be surrounded by the food vs. fuel argument, but landowner Stan Bowman believes it’s a matter of dollars and cents.

“I think it’s old technology already. I’m not real sold on it from an energy production point of view because you use almost as much energy to produce it as you get out of it,” said Bowman. “But the dollar is going to be the bottom line in the end. If the dollars are there, guys will do it.”