Alberta doesn't have to choose between protecting the environment and overseeing a robust economy,ProgressiveConservative leadership hopeful Jim Dinning said Monday.

Safeguarding the environment will help make for a better economy in the province, theformer Alberta treasurer said.

"I don't want Alberta's economy to stop growing," he said in Calgary. "Clearly that's not what Albertans have said. What Albertans have said, though, is they want to see the bar raised on the environment."

If he becomespremier, Dinning said,he willslow the development of resource projects and mineral leases, particularly in Alberta's southeastern slopes, until an environmental plan is in place to deal withland, water and air.

The plan "will not sit again on the heaving shelves of the provincial government," he added.

Healso said he wants to establish a special fund to deal with water, set up what he calls aggressive targets for greenhouse gas reductions and preserve and protect sensitive land in the public and private sectors.

He further wants to start research aimed at developing a new source of clean energy.