Notley says Kenney should reverse AER decision to suspend environmental monitoring of oil industry

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney should step in to reverse a decision by the province’s energy regulator to suspend most environmental monitoring in the oilpatch, says the province’s Opposition leader.

The NDP’s Rachel Notley says if the United Conservative premier doesn’t reverse the decision — which the regulator says was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic — it will cost jobs in the sector, as international investors shy away from an industry increasingly seen as an environmental outlier.

“The only people it was worse for were the people in Alberta who care about maintaining any kind of job or economic security within the oil and gas sector. It’s Albertans who need the jobs in that sector who will pay the price.”

On Wednesday, the Alberta Energy Regulator expanded previous monitoring suspensions for open-pit oilsands mines to include the entire oilpatch.

Companies no longer have to monitor fumes released by burning, or look for and repair leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Surface water no longer needs to be tested, unless it escapes into the environment _ and that water no longer needs to be tested in a lab.

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Most soil and groundwater monitoring is gone. In-situ oilsands operations no longer have to do wildlife, reclamation and wetland monitoring, including research.

Most suspensions have no sunset date.

 

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