Responses to the AUC approval of the Milner Coal Power Plant

On June 30, 2011— the day before the Canada Day long weekend— the Alberta Utilities Commission approved Maxim Power Corp.'s 500-megawatt coal-fired Milner Power Plant expansion proposal. This move has been viewed by some as a cynical attempt to bypass the new proposed federal coal plant regulations. In the words of U of A Economist and prominent energy/economy blogger Andrew Leach:

So when you add it all together, the AUC provided an expeditious approval to a coal-fired power plant so that it could sneak under the wire and not be covered by new federal regulations.

The Pembina Institute has identified this approval as a crucial test to the proposed regulations. In an Edmonton Journal op-ed, Pembina's Tim Weis writes:

The Maxim approval raises questions about how serious Ottawa really is. The environment minister needs to be clear. Is he guarding against the construction of polluting new coal plants, or is he encouraging it?

For more background, you can read the full op-ed, Clare Demerse's blog post, and Pembina's letter to Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent.

In response to the approval, Sierra Club Prairie has urged Albertans to "Tell Premier Stelmach Coal Kills".