We have been working hard over the past two years, advocating and standing up for northwest Albertans for more common-sense solutions to protect the caribou and our communities.
Our efforts have made a significant break through. On March 19 the Minister of Environment and Parks announced that she is pulling back on the Alberta Government's caribou protection plans and instead is engaging with the federal government before proceeding.
A major part of the Minister pulling back is to get assistance from the federal government to conduct a socio-economic study of our region to better understand the impacts that caribou recovery measures could have on our working families, businesses, municipalities and communities. You can read the Minister’s letter to the federal government here.
Most notable in the Minister’s letter to the federal government is:
- That "more work and time is needed to understand the socio-economic impacts of caribou range planning on northern communities."
- The Alberta Government announced in this letter that it is suspending "consideration of conservation lands" pending a further review and the outcome of their socio-economic impact study.
- It believes that the investment required to protect caribou habitat to federal requirements is enormous and cannot be shouldered by the Alberta Government alone.
- The Alberta Government stated that its "approach to protecting caribou populations and fulfilling the requirements under federal law cannot and will not come at the expense of our economy."
- Specifically, the province has already invested $9.2 million to date on caribou recovery and knows that the cost of restoration alone over the next 40 years is estimated to be over $1 billion and that the rearing facilities in the Alberta Government's plans will cost around $75 million.
- The Alberta Government is asking for funds from the federal government to help restore habitat to increase the caribou population.
- The Alberta Government also plans to meet and work with industry to find solutions and avoid an emergency protection order from the federal government for the Woodland Caribou.
- The Alberta Government announced that it will be assembling a delegation of representatives from northern Alberta to go to Ottawa to talk about the challenges and opportunities of caribou range planning in Alberta.
- As well as, a delegation of officials will go to Ottawa to discuss the enormous costs of protecting the caribou habitat to federal requirements.