Estevan City Councillor Tony Sernick says he's strongly opposed to the new Just Transition plan tabled by the federal government, which addresses climate change and emphasizes a need for clean energy in the future.

The 32-page document was released earlier this month.

"Probably one of the worst decisions being made by any government I guess, whether it be national or provincial," Sernick said. "Everything we do revolves around energy, especially here in southeast Saskatchewan, from our power plant to our oil and gas sectors and all that sort of fun stuff."

"Even the coal...all they talk about is emissions, emissions, emissions. So we go out and get the carbon capture thing and eliminate the emissions, and then it just turns into, 'Oh, you just can't burn coal.' At what point do you just kind of sit back and wonder what's really the cause for it all I guess. In our climate here, in southeast Saskatchewan, we wouldn't even be able to live here without energy."

Sernick adds that the government is driving the investment value way down. 

"Just with the oil and gas, the investment that they're driving away. It's probably a quarter of the activity that it should be at 70, 80 dollars a barrel. It's just all policy driving away investment," he said. "It takes big money to get that energy out of the ground and sustain it and keep it at a level that is good for everybody, and we're definitely falling behind."

"We're pumping the oil, but even this little pipeline that goes through southeast Saskatchewan here is 40,000 barrels short. That's a pretty big number."

Sernick is also skeptical of the government's claim that a clean energy economy will create an abundance of sustainable jobs in Canada.

"There's probably a couple jobs at a wind farm, solar farm probably the same thing. You have jobs that are in construction, but after the construction's done, it's kind of just maintenance," he said. "All the clean energy and everything I see...wind and solar is a complete waste of money. And that's just efficiency wise. Obviously when the wind's blowing and the sun's shining, they do what they're supposed to do."

"But if you think of the coal fired plant here, it runs at about a 99 per cent efficiency rate...that means it's running all the time and producing power all the time. Solar probably runs best at 20 per cent efficiency, and I'll even give wind 40 per cent efficiency. That's just not sustainable, right?"

Sernick added that he hopes geothermal energy and small modular reactors can take a foothold in the Estevan region in the years to come. A biomass plant is also in the works, he said.

And as somebody who was born and raised in the southeast, he has a message for Estevan residents amid all the industry upheaval.

"I think for Estevan's future obviously the power plants are going to get switched to natural gas. Again, I hope they build the SMRs here. So as far as Estevan being the Energy City, obviously something in the future here is going to continue down that path I would say. But again it just seems to me that the coal industry is going to take the brunt. But like I said, oil and gas isn't far behind," he said.

"When you listen to Just Transition and all that sort of stuff, it's a scary thing. And I don't think people realize how scary it is."