B.C. residents pay while large polluters get free ride
Is it a coincidence that the recent proclamation by Premier Christy Clark redefining “clean energy” for three multi-billion liquid natural-gas (LNG) corporations created unexpected wealth for a select few shareholders of Progress Energy Resources Corp.?
This LNG corporation has ownership in one of the three LNG projects identified in Clark’s definition that burning natural gas is “clean”.
Progress Energy Resources Corp (PRQ) traded at $11.58 prior to the premier’s announcement. One week after the announcement, the company was sold to a Malaysian purchaser for $ 20.45 per share ,equating to a 77 per cent increase on the existing $11.58 share price.
The total value of the sale was $5.5 billion. The one-week gain equalled $2.4 billion enjoyed by previous shareholders of PRQ.
The carbon tax on gas of seven cents per litre still applies to every B.C. resident.
This is a formula to ensure residents contribute $30 per tonne to the province for contributing to greenhouse-gas emissions.
The three corporate LNG projects favoured by our premier will emit 20 to 30 per cent of B.C.’s total greenhouse-gas emissions by 2016 and will likely not pay anything for their pollution.
If they were taxed like the general public, their release of 20 megatonnes of greenhouse gas at $30 per tonne would contribute $600 million of carbon tax per annum, which could be directed toward the research for reduction of greenhouse gas or to the health-care budget.
Once again, the population of B.C. will be subsidizing multibillion-dollar polluting corporations.
The explanation by Environment Minister Terry Lake is that his B.C. Liberal government can’t drive business from the province by applying the carbon tax.
Lake’s claim isn’t accepted in Alberta, where that province taxes every corporation producing more than 100 kilotonnes of greenhouse gas. The tax equals $15 per tonne of greenhouse gas emitted.
Alberta families driving to work or picking up necessities for their living are exempt from the emissions tax. Alberta recognizes oil and gas businesses won’t leave the province since that is where the resources lie.
This application of tax has Alberta focusing on the large polluters, not the insignificant ones.
The B.C. Liberal government also claims the carbon tax is rebated to British Columbians.
Page 66 of the B.C. Budget confirms this claim is true — with the caveat that 59 per cent of the rebate is paid to profitable industries and corporations.
In other words, major polluters in B.C. receive most of the carbon tax collected.
Some of these are the very oil and gas businesses that aren’t taxed a dime for venting megatonnes of greenhouse gasses from their pipelines.
The redefinition by the premier that possibly increased the share price of Progress Energy Resources Corp. will also help the earning potential of one of the largest corporations on the planet.
Does it warm everyone’s heart that the Liberal government will not be charging Shell Oil a carbon tax on greenhouse-gas emissions?
When a government makes a policy that positively affects a selected few corporations, you can expect the rest of the population and our environment to pay a heavy price.
Should multi-billion dollar companies get a free ride on the backs of B.C. families?