Environment Minister Tim Halman. (Submitted Photo)

The following is a statement issued by the provincial government from Timothy Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

HALIFAX: Today (Sept. 1), Premier Tim Houston, in his role as chair of the Council of Atlantic Premiers, asked the federal government for an extension to the September 2 deadline for the submission of provincial carbon pricing plans for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The four Atlantic governments all share the same concerns about the impact of carbon pricing on top of historic inflation on Atlantic Canadian households.

Almost 40 per cent of Atlantic Canadians already experience energy poverty – the highest rate in the country.

This is why Nova Scotia developed its own made-in-Nova Scotia solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the alternative to a federal carbon tax. Nova Scotia has the strongest 2030 greenhouse gas emission targets in the country and a legislated plan to meet and exceed them.

We had hoped that the federal government would be open to our plan – a plan that is better than a carbon tax for Nova Scotia. They were not.

Too many Nova Scotians struggle with affordability issues. Many cannot afford to pay more for the price of gas and home heating oil. Our daily consumption of energy is not something we can quickly reduce as prices spike.

Our government is committed to finding a path forward that works for Nova Scotians.

And Nova Scotia is not alone. The four Atlantic provinces all agree that any discussion on carbon pricing must include solutions for minimizing the affordability issues it will create for Atlantic Canadians.

The increase to the costs of energy under the federal carbon tax will amplify the inflationary pressures currently being felt across Nova Scotia and all Atlantic Canada. Any further discussion on carbon pricing must prioritize mitigating these impacts without impacting our clearly defined emissions targets.

By extending the deadline, the federal government will provide the opportunity for meaningful engagement with officials from the four provinces on how Ottawa can support energy affordability in Atlantic Canada.

We look forward to meaningful discussions between the federal government and the provinces on practical solutions so pricing carbon does not cause further financial burden for Atlantic Canadians.