The hotly debated carbon tax continues to loom over Saskatchewan, and especially the coal industry in the southeast corner.
Premier Scott Moe and his SaskParty have vowed to fight it tooth and nail, even as far as court, and the discussion reaches down to Estevan and it's business community.
"Ultimately we need our provincial and federal government to work together. It seems like it's been a 'we agree to disagree', but at this point, I don't think the province can afford to do that. They need to brush off their negotiating skills, get a hold of Ottawa and make sure they're doing what they can for this province. Make sure that we are in alignment with federal regulations or at least can come up with a plan that the federal government is going to accept," stated Jackie Wall, the Executive Director of the Estevan Chamber of Commerce.
"I have read the Prairie Resilience: Made-In-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy, and unfortunately I was not that impresssed with it. It was very open ended, very superficial. It didn't really get down to some numbers, into some data, maybe that is what Ottawa is looking for. I think it is a good start, but they need to dig deeper. They need to state the case to Ottawa that our province is doing a lot in regards to a carbon strategy."
She pointed to the CCS project at Boundary Dam as something that could prove to be a key component in the matter when it comes to fighting carbon emissions and promoting an alternative, both locally and globally.
"I really think the federal government is a little bit shortsighted on this issue. I understand that we have to be responsible, but anything that Canada does to cut back on our emissions does not have a huge impact globally. We need to make sure that we are setting a good example globally, and right now the issue as far as our carbon footprint goes way deeper than that. We're talking pipelines, the capture, it's way bigger in scale and we have to not only watch what's happening in our backyard, but also how what we do here impacts globally."
"There's also a fiscal responsibility that governments have. You can introduce new technologies, you can introduce a carbon tax, but ultimately if it's going to be a detriment to your fiscal responsibility - which is what's happening - we're becoming uncompetitive on a global scale because of carbon tax that is going to leave us uncompetitive, and therefore it's going to hinder our economy as well. Things have to be brought in, obviously, for the betterment of the global emissions, but at what cost? If it's going to cost our country, and it's really not going to have a large impact globally, is it worth the cost?," Wall questioned.
The Boundary Dam CCS recently reached 2,000,000 tons of carbon captured, equivilant to 500,000 cars removed from the road. Mayor Roy Ludwig noted that such accomplishments and technology will only get easier as time goes.
"Each successive unit will be cheaper, so if we can get our province to continue the type of support to keep moving forward on this new technology that's economically viable, that's what we want. We want to continue down this road because coal can play an important part in our future, not only is it economically viable, but it's also green technology, so why would we not continue that?"