Petro Firms Seek Partial Oil-Sands Moratorium

Apparently we polar bears aren't the only ones asking the Alberta government to “press pause” on breakneck oil-sands development. Even some oil companies believe that certain areas should be spared the teeth of their power shovels, a Globe and Mail report reveals.

According to the paper, last month an industry-led coalition of petroleum firms quietly asked Edmonton to halt oil-sands development in a handful of areas deemed worthy of conservation that together comprise about one-sixth of the Athabasca reserves. Two of the three parcels are south and east of Wood Buffalo National Park.

The private letter, signed by seven major oil-sands developers, as well as Environment Canada and the Pembina Institute, asks the province to halt land-lease sales in the regions until 2011.

An Alberta Energy spokesman told the paper that the province would not issue any official response until after the March 3 election.

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