The Tyee's great petro-scribe, Andrew Nikiforuk, reveals how Alberta is exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to suspend environmental monitoring of the Oil Patch.
On the very day Premier Jason Kenney deemed it safe again to play hockey in Edmonton, the Alberta Energy Regulator released two more decisions basically saying the tribulations of COVID-19 meant it wasn’t safe to do environmental monitoring.
That, added to previous pronouncements, means Alberta has now suspended all environmental reporting and monitoring in its oil patch. Most of the orders provide no timeline for resuming such obligations.
It’s the new normal in Kenney’s troubled petro state. The rollbacks started with the suspension of requiring companies to submit environmental reporting on mine sites and the like. But they didn’t stop there.
Now companies don’t even have to do any bothersome environmental monitoring.
[Alberta environment minister, Jason]Nixon had earlier announced the closing of 20 provincial parks and removal of another 164 protected areas from the parks list out of budget concerns. Apparently Alberta is so broke, it can’t afford parks anymore.
This logic is contagious: if the province can’t afford parks, it only follows that the industry can’t afford environmental reporting.
In three separate ministerial orders, Nixon suspended reporting requirements contained in the Water Act, the Public Lands Act, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, and the Technology Innovation and Emission Reduction Regulation.And so Alberta joins the rogues gallery of individuals and institutions gaming the pandemic. When the cat's away the rats will play.