As we go to press on our March issue – featuring an article on the Athabasca oil sands – the Government of Alberta has released a 20 year strategic plan for Alberta’s oil sands that aims to reduce the environmental footprint, optimise economic growth, and increase the quality of life in Alberta’s oil sands regions. “When it comes to Alberta’s oil sands, we believe that Canada can be a leader in finding innovative ways to ensure both economic growth and greater environmental protection,” said Lloyd Snelgrove, President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Oil Sands Sustainable Development Secretariat. “This strategy will guide our responsible approach to development, with an increased focus on the environment and the importance of this significant resource to local communities.” Responsible Actions: A Plan for Alberta’s Oil Sands outlines long-term strategies and immediate actions that address economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities in the oil sands regions. The plan highlights current efforts such as carbon capture and storage, and strengthens the approach for land reclamation, cumulative effects management and environmental conservation. The strategy is closely aligned with provincial and regional initiatives such as the Provincial Energy Strategy and the Land-use Framework.“Responsible Actions is another important step in addressing high growth community pressures and a road map to our future,” added Guy Boutilier, MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.The strategic plan was based on extensive stakeholder consultations, which were outlined in three reports:Investing in our Future: Responding to the Rapid Growth of Oil Sands DevelopmentMulti-stakeholder Committee Final ReportAboriginal Consultation Final Report.Alberta’s oil sands regions contain the second largest petroleum reserves in the world and play a key role in the long-term economic growth and energy security for Alberta and Canada.