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Inquiry into Alberta oil and gas critics extended to Jan. 31, with no new money

A de-commissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., on October 29, 2016. Observers praised the federal government's multibillion-dollar oilpatch bailout package Friday, but warned the money should come with strings attached. "(Money) should be tied to regulatory change in Alberta to ensure the province puts in place a polluter-pays program so the public is not left with these liabilities in the future," said Greenpeace Canada spokesman Keith Stewart. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

EDMONTON – A public inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to Alberta’s oil and gas industry has been granted an extension until the end of January.

Alberta’s United Conservative government contends foreign interests have long been bankrolling campaigns against fossil fuel development and in 2019 tapped forensic accountant Steve Allan to lead a $2.5-million inquiry.

Allan’s report was initially due in July, but he was granted an extension until Oct. 30 and a $1-million budget increase.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage says Alberta’s cabinet has agreed to another 90-day extension to Jan. 31, but it comes with no additional
funding.

She says it’s meant to ensure potential participants have a fair opportunity to provide input and that COVID-19 restrictions have led to procedural delays.

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated, biased and outside provincial
jurisdiction.

(The Canadian Press)