Chevron Canada Ltd. is lobbying B.C. cabinet ministers for relief from the carbon tax, an oil company spokesman says, days after the government announced a grant of $7.6-million to compensate greenhouse growers fully for taxes they paid last year on propane and natural gas.
"We are in regular dialogue with the government concerning the competitive disadvantage presented to energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries like Chevron, and a facility like the [Burnaby]refinery," Ray Lord, government affairs manager for Chevron, said Thursday in an interview.
Chevron incurs costs associated with the carbon tax while Alberta and Washington do not, he said. "It is placing us at a fundamentally competitive disadvantage, and that is one subject of ongoing dialogue [with the government]" he said.
Earlier this week, the government announced tax relief for greenhouse growers in recognition of the impact of the carbon tax on their competitive position in the United States and Mexico. Chevron paid close attention to the announcement. "We're in the process of trying to understand it," Mr. Lord said.
Chevron has retained David Molinski, a former assistant deputy minister in the energy ministry's oil and gas division, to lobby the B.C. government on its behalf, according to the March report of the B.C. Lobbyists Registry.
Mr. Molinski was an assistant deputy minister from March 1, 2004, to July 22, 2006. Former senior managers in the B.C. public service are prohibited from lobbying a ministry in which they were employed for one year after their employment ended.
Mr. Molinski was not available for an interview on Thursday. Registry documents show that Mr. Molinski was to set up meetings with Energy Minister Rich Coleman, Environment Minister Terry Lake and Jobs Minister Pat Bell to discuss issues that may have affect the operation of Chevron's Burnaby refinery and other company assets in B.C.
Mr. Lord said the company recently hired Mr. Molinski as part of the company's continuing efforts to maintain a relationship with the provincial government.
One of the most active files is the B.C. carbon tax, he said. Chevron is looking forward to participating in a review of the tax that the government announced earlier this year, he added.
The Chevron refinery in Burnaby, which employs 250 people, supplies about 30 per cent of the fuel in the Lower Mainland. The refinery processes 55,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
Later Thursday, the government backed away from another element of its controversial greenhouse gas emission program, announcing a $5-million program for school districts required to buy carbon offsets to compensate for excessive greenhouse gas emissions.
The program has been controversial for redistributing public school funds to private businesses that reduce their emissions, such as forest company Canfor and natural gas company Encana.
The school districts will still have to buy the carbon offsets from the Pacific Carbon Trust. However the districts will receive government funds that will be equal to or greater than what they pay each year for carbon offsets, a government news release stated.