EDMONTON, AB: Albertans deserve better clarity from the NDP government on the source and origin for lower air quality outcomes released by Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, Wildrose Shadow Environment Minister Todd Loewen said today.
The NDP announcement about data reported against Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards tried to pin particularly low air quality numbers for the Red Deer region on industry, personal car use, or a lack of transit. However, Alberta Environment’s own Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) rates Red Deer’s present air quality health risk as “low”. The AQHI measures a mixture of air pollutants including: Ground-level Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter, and Nitrogen Dioxide.
“Without a better explanation from the NDP, any new policy appears to be an overreaction,” Loewen said. “We have conflicting data on the government’s own website and they have failed to identify pollution sources for the Red Deer data. It is clear we need to take a more balanced approach to this issue based on evidence and not ideology. Albertans will be rightfully dubious about claims that the Red Deer area has Alberta’s dirtiest air.”
The data was gathered from one station in a river valley in the City of Red Deer and is meant to be representative of a geographic area from Sundre to Drumheller and from Oyen to Eckville, and all points in between.
Wildrose has always stood for clean air and protecting the environment by advocating for tightening and more strictly enforcing rules and approval mechanisms regulating air quality, particularly in and around heavy industrial zones.
Loewen called on the government to provide measurable comparisons with other provinces, to identify likely sources for actual declines in air quality, and to put forward balanced and common sense solutions to ensure Albertans enjoy clean air in all regions of the province.
“Everyone wants clean air but it looks like the Environment Minister needs to do more homework before jumping ahead with new policies and regulations,” Loewen said. “Albertans want the government to present and weigh all information available to come up with a plan that makes real improvements to the environment and ensures all Albertans can enjoy clean air, clean land and clean water.”