Abandoning 'social license' was a dumb idea for Alberta's oilpatch - 2019-10-27
The NDP government of former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said that seeking "social license" for the province's fossil fuel industry was the way to win approval for more pipeline capacity to Canada's ocean ports.
This was true enough as far as it went, and the idea that getting such approval required environment-friendly compromises like carbon taxes and emissions caps clearly succeeded. After all, despite an iffy business case, the multi-billion-dollar Trans Mountain pipeline expansion not only got federal approval on Notley's watch, but was eventually temporarily nationalized by Ottawa to ensure construction could proceed.
Now, however, it is becoming clear that social license is not only essential to sustaining and even expanding Alberta's oilsands industry, it may be key to ensuring its survival as a viable economic activity.