Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands with Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks after being sworn into office in Edmonton on April 30, 2019.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Environmental monitoring and reporting of Alberta’s oil and gas sites will resume July 15, following a temporary suspension blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alberta Energy Regulator and provincial government announced within minutes of each other Tuesday that they were both repealing orders that allowed oil and gas producers to suspend a swath of requirements around environmental protections and reporting, including programs that monitor soil, water, wildlife, firebreaks and greenhouse gas emissions.

Alberta’s public health emergency lifted on June 15. Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said in a statement Tuesday that means industry can resume business while keeping communities and employees safe.

Story continues below advertisement

The regulator’s decision to suspend some facets of environmental monitoring came at the urging of industry, which argued it could not undergo the largely outdoor activities while complying with public-health directives. That was as oil sands sites remained operational, declared an essential service by the province.

The regulator said at the time the temporary suspension was at a low risk to cause short- or long-term consequences.

But the move drew the ire of three northern Alberta First Nations. The Mikisew Cree First Nation, Fort McKay First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation argued in an appeal to the regulator’s internal review body that the suspension “fails to come close” to being a reasonable decision.

The issue also became a political hot potato, with Alberta’s Opposition Leader Rachel Notley labelling the directive “utterly idiotic” and calling for the resignation of AER head Laurie Pushor.

In a statement Tuesday, the AER said the move to suspend monitoring was necessary to protect the public and ensure worker health and safety, but it’s now moving back to normal regulatory processes.

It also said it “will be reaching out to Indigenous communities and stakeholders to discuss how we can better work together.”

In a statement Tuesday, Energy Minister Sonya Savage said the suspensions were being lifted earlier than anticipated.

Story continues below advertisement

“The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic required us to operate under an abundance of caution during the height of the health emergency. While this pause was of low risk, it is also important that we maintain full confidence in the rigour of our regulatory system and return to all regular reporting activities as soon as it is safe to do so,” she said.

“While we expect precautionary measures to be taken, we have no doubt that industry is more than capable of adapting to these challenges.”

Under the ministerial orders handed down in May, Alberta Environment and Parks also authorized a three-month extension to industry to submit regulatory reports for emissions reduction achievements and renewable fuel operator compliance. Those reports are now due June 30.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies