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and culture. Substantial modifications to infrastructure would be required to al- low the passage of the shipments. In order to adhere to state traffic laws The Long Road to the Athabasca Tar Sands 389 that forbid shipment-related traffic delays of more than fifteen minutes, the slow-moving vehicles required turnouts along the roadways. In Montana this meant the construction or expansion of seventy-five turn- outs (Montana Department of Transport 2010, 21). In Idaho, Imperial Oil had already, by 2010, improved at least nine turnouts on US HWY 12 and had

shore up their legitimacy (for example, public relations campaigns ‘green- washing’ the tar sands); citizen engagement with the state has waned (notable in the historically low 40.6 per cent voter turnout in the March 2008 provincial election – the lowest turnout in the last half-century of Canadian provincial elections [‘Low Voter Turnout’ 2008]); and one party ruled the province from 1971 to 2015. Alongside these negative Petro-Politics of Environmental Regulation in the Tar Sands 175 economic and political impacts is the trend of weakened environmental

cent of the vote. Thus, the appearance of broad public support for the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta (as elsewhere in Canada) is produced both by the first-past-the-post electoral system11 and by low voter turnout due to the disenfranchisement felt by many citizens (Soron 2005). Rentier state theory is a useful way of understanding some aspects of Alberta’s political economy through comparisons with other petro- states. It allows us to identify how Alberta exhibits central features of a rentier state in terms of dependence on oil rents (hence the govern

social sector inequality Voter as % of of export total state income expenditure owned (Gini turnout Jurisdiction GDP earnings revenue (current $US) as % of GDPa by state coefficientb) UN HDIc 2011 (ranking) (%) Alberta 25.7 (2010) 61.4 (2010) 35 (2011) 67,340 (2009) 16.9 (2007)f 0 0.32 (2010) Alberta (3) [Canada 0.908 (6)] 57 (2012) Norway 21 (2010) 47 (2010) 26 (2010) 98,102 (2011) 20.8 (2007) 80 (2012) 0.244e (2012) 0.943 (1) 76 (2009) Russian Federation 25 (2010) 66 (2011) 50 (2010–11) 13,089 (2011) 12.0 (2007) c. 40 (2008) 0.425 (2011) 0.755 (66) 65 (2012