Quebec budget pledges $31 billion for clean energy, $333M for contaminated sites
QUEBEC CITY, QUE-Quebec's pre-provincial election budget, presented February 20 by Finance Minister Michel Audet, has pledged some $31 billion to develop clean energy sources. Building on a new energy strategy, released in May 2006, the commitments include investments of $25 billion over the next ten years to resume major hydroelectric projects, along with $6 billion in funding, also over ten years, to develop wind energy resources. Premier Jean Charest's government also proposes to double the provincial sales tax rebate on the purchase of an eligible hybrid vehicle, increasing it from $1,000 to $2,000. The province further intends to table a plan for dealing with climate change, backed by financial commitments of $1.2 billion over six years. Audet noted that the federal government has also said it will contribute $325 million in its next budget to support Quebec's climate change efforts. There are more than 400 contaminated sites in Quebec requiring remediation to mitigate risks to the environment and public health. Audet's budget calls for a $333-million plan to clean up these sites, with implementation to be carrried out over a ten-year period. Infrastructure improvements will be accorded $2.3 billion over four years for public transit, drinking water supply and wastewater treatment, as well as local road networks.