AEN Members react to Alberta's new wetland policy

On September 10, Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resources Development released the new Alberta Wetland Policy.

The Alberta Wilderness Association's Carolyn Campbell deemed the policy "appalling news for Alberta's boreal forest":

Despite Albertans’ strong support for a no-net-loss wetland policy, the announced policy caves in to unsustainable oilsands industry practices and is appalling news for Alberta’s boreal forest. Instead, a clear compensation policy should at least offset wetlands losses as they occur, in line with many other jurisdictions. As with the tailings ponds directives, existing projects should be brought into wetlands compliance at the 10 year license renewal stage.

Jason Unger of the Environmental Law Centre concludes that:

…in giving up on the concept of no-net loss of wetlands and providing gaping discretionary measures to allow for the destruction of even highly valued wetlands, the new wetland policy directly undermines any claim that Alberta is a world leader in environmental management.

The Pembina Institute called on the Government to further clarify the policy:

Alberta has spent eight years developing the wetland policy that was released today, but it is unclear when and how it will actually affect oilsands decision-making. The Government of Alberta needs to confirm the following:


  • All planned and approved oilsands projects will be subject to the policy,
  • That the policy is in effect from today and will result in mitigation of current impacts for all oilsands projects going forward, and
  • No exemptions for oilsands will entertained.