Alberta's resources minister says a plan to balance development and the environment in the oilsands region is ready to go before the provincial cabinet.

But its reception is uncertain as nearly all candidates for the leadership of the governing Conservatives are highly skeptical of the effort.

Last spring, Mel Knight introduced a plan that would protect in some way about two million hectares of land in northeastern Alberta.

Monday's version is little changed from the initial plan, which has been roundly criticized by five of the six contenders to replace Premier Ed Stelmach. One of those six will form the cabinet that must approve the plan.

Environmentalists have pointed out it doesn't stop oil and gas activity in conservation areas and fails to protect any new land where development is heaviest.