Some of the members of the Alberta provincial government’s recently-named oil sands advisory panel have a history of strong opposition to oil sands and pipeline development, reports the Cold Lake Sun.
The committee members include former federal NDP candidate Melody Lepine, who spoke against pipeline development during the last federal election. More controversially, the panel is co-chaired by Tzeporah Berman, who has been quoted comparing the oil sands to Mordor, the dark wasteland from the Lord of the Rings novels.
Berman, an adjunct professor of environmental studies at York University and former co-director of Greenpeace, responded on Facebook, saying “I regret the recent comments I made to a climate reporter on a trip to London … They are the words and tone from my past campaigning and don’t reflect the opportunity I have today to be part of helping advise on the critical questions on how Alberta will operate under a limit, innovate, better protect its environment and determine the infrastructure needs of its future production.”
Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips is defending the constitution of the group. “Long before there was an Alberta climate change plan, before there was an Alberta NDP government, there were a number of environmental groups and oil companies talking to one another about how to move forward in the oil sands, and how to move forward with an Alberta climate plan,” she said.
The committee also includes Dave Collyer, former Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Shell Canada president, as well as other representatives from stakeholder groups.