Environment Minister Must Come Clean with Albertans on Caribou Situation: Loewen

EDMONTON, AB: Given that there’s been no socio-economic impact assessment on Alberta’s caribou situation, Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips must come clean with Albertans and tell them what exactly is required by the federal government to solve the caribou issues in order for an economically sustainable response to be designed with genuine local input, Wildrose Shadow Environment & Parks Minister Todd Loewen said.

In meetings with industry and local government, it has become clear that the federal government is not requiring the province to complete caribou range plans by October 2017, only that there be significant progress demonstrated toward caribou conservation planning.

“It’s an open question as to whether or not the minister will have discussions in good faith with all affected stakeholders,” Loewen said. “Federal and local governments and industry have been willing to work with the provincial government to develop a made in Alberta plan that conserves caribou while sustaining our rural communities.”

The Banff National Park caribou herd is gone and 70 per cent of the troubled A la Peche herd’s range is in a provincial or national park. Roughly 60 per cent of the Caribou mountain range is located within parks and over 75 per cent of the range is considered undisturbed but the herd is still considered unsustainable.

“Two contractors have already been laid off because of the timber harvest moratorium in the A la Peche and Little Smoky ranges,” Loewen said. “The moratorium has shown no evidence of helping caribou in the region. The minister needs to be transparent with Albertans regarding their plans and work with local governments and industry to develop an appropriate response.”