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Danielle Smith’s Billion Dollar Giveaway to Polluters

Unravelling the R-Star scheme and the history of regulatory capture in the Alberta oilsands, with Regan Boychuk

It’s an environmental problem that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to tackle, and successive Alberta governments have lacked the political will to address it.

Hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells exist across the province, many of which are inactive and at risk of abandonment.

For decades the Alberta Energy Regulator has allowed large producers to offload their cleanup obligations onto smaller ones, that then go insolvent or bankrupt.

Alberta’s new Premier has pushed a pilot program called the R-Star that will reward polluters for doing what they’re legally obligated to do anyway by letting them off the hook for billions in royalties owed to the province.

Smith urged the government to adopt R-Star while lobbying for corporate interests last year. It was rejected by Kenney’s UCP. Now, Energy Minister Peter Guthrie said he’ll make it a “top priority.”

Researcher and industry watchdog Regan Boychuk joins host Stephen Magusiak to talk about what he calls the R-Star “scam,” and Alberta’s history of regulatory capture by the fossil fuel industry.

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