California's Air Resources Board is poised to enact California's low-carbon fuel standards this week. These new regulations, expected to set a trend for more states and the U.S. as a whole, would require a wells-to-wheels accounting of the carbon output of all fuels and require producers who exceed standards to purchase carbon credits.
All of this is bad news for Alberta's tar sands companies, who see California as an incredibly lucrative potential market. Happily for them, our Natural Resources Minister is on the case:
In a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that was filed with the board, federal Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt complained that the proposed rules appear to single out oil sands producers for punitive treatment.
“We are concerned that crude oil derived from Canada's oil sands may be discriminated against as a high [carbon-intensity] crude oil, while other crude oils with similar upstream emissions are not singled out,” Ms. Raitt wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.
“This could be perceived as creating an unfair trade barrier between our two countries.”
Ouch! That almost sounds like... a Chapter 11 NAFTA challenge! Ooh yeah, bring it on! Because that's what we really need during a global recession while global warming is rapidly approaching a tipping point: a U.S.-Canada trade war over groundbreaking environmental regulations.
Lisa Raitt: Defending Canada's oil industry from crazed left-wing Republican environmentalists since 2009!