Government warned to control development



    AFL President addresses oil sands stakeholder committee

    CALGARY, April 24 /CNW/ - "The Stelmach government must act now to
control the pace of development," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "The
province is already paying too great a price for their past 'hands-off'
approach to oil sands development."
    McGowan points out overcrowded classrooms and hospitals, failing
municipal infrastructures and a workforce that is overstressed and workplace
injury rates that are rising.
    "We want the government to pace development to reduce the social and
economic cost of an overheated economy," says McGowan. "Unchecked development
will simply hasten the inevitable end of the boom and make the subsequent
economic and social costs worse."
    McGowan also insists that the government intervene to protect the
domestic petrochemical industry. "The government must take a stand against the
construction of pipelines designed to send raw bitumen to the U.S.," says
McGowan. "Otherwise, all the value-added production will be done south of the
border while our own upgrader and processing industry stagnates."
    McGowan had no sympathy for producers who demand a free ride to act as
they please. "The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has warned of
dire consequences of government regulates development," says McGowan. "We say
there's too much money to be made for them to walk away."
    Government needs to spell out a vision, set the targets and lay down the
rules for oil sands development according to McGowan. "We want rules to cap
emissions, rules to set the pace of growth and rules to promote a domestic
downstream industry. And if companies don't like it - well, we can buy back
their leases and give them to someone prepared to play by the rules," says
McGowan.
    Finally, McGowan wants an immediate end to the current one cent royalty.
"We need a higher royalty rate that moves with price," insists McGowan. "The
current rate is a joke. We're letting energy companies pick our collective
pockets."
    Gil McGowan will be addressing the government's Multi-stakeholder
Committee on Oilsands Development at 1:15 pm in room 203 of the Telus
Convention Centre in Calgary today.





For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, President, Bus: (780) 483-3021,
Cell: (780) 218-9888

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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