Alberta budget weakens environmental, climate monitoring: Opposition

Budget says the science and monitoring office’s budget to be cut by almost 5%

A flare stack lights the sky along refinery row in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

A flare stack lights the sky along refinery row in Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

The Alberta budget tabled last week cuts funds for environmental monitoring and for managing greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics say that will weaken the province’s ability to track pollution and reduce its contribution to climate change.

The budget says the science and monitoring office, established by the Progressive Conservatives to study industrial impacts on the environment, is to have its budget cut by almost five per cent.

The emissions management office is to take a 20-per-cent cut by 2023. It tracks greenhouse gas emissions and runs programs that encourage industry to reduce them.

The province has not provided a response.

Earlier this month, the United Conservative government told Environment Department employees that it was ending stand-alone offices for climate change and environmental monitoring.

Opposition members of the legislatures warned at the time that the moves were a prelude to funding cuts.

READ MORE: Alberta UCP government tables budget with cuts to civil servants, universities

New Democrat environment critic Marlin Schmidt says the budget hands more control of environmental monitoring to industry.

The Canadian Press