Saturday, May 23, 2020

Exploiting the Virus as a Smokescreen

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.


Trailblazer said...

This was to expected from any of the authoritarian governments of the world be they national or state/province.

The call will be; kick start the economy , stimulate, remove red tape, the list goes on.
Most of these actions will be cause for future public debt as these actions are offloaded to the taxpayer.

Whilst there has been a worldwide cry to use Covid19 as a catalyst for change, the likelihood is that profiteers will rule the day.
This Globalised world has left us with too few individuals and companies calling the shots; difficult to change that.


The Disaffected Lib said...

TB, we have to remember that Kenney is getting his orders from the man behind the emerald curtain, Sideshow Steve Harper. Having landed in a hot manure pile, Kenney is desperate for some guiding hand and whether it's Alberta's UCP or the federal CPC, Harper seems to be the one-man steering committee.

John B. said...

The problem has always been that we let the libertarians carry on pushing forward with their next moves without ever calling them to account for the failure of their previous ones. The recent steady self-satisfied smugger-than-ever look on Harper's face as he leans back and lectures us now is enough to make me puke. Doesn't anybody else remember who this guy is or what he did?

Owen Gray said...

Governments of all stripes are using the pandemic to relieve themselves of basic responsibilities.

The Disaffected Lib said...

John, I hope that many Canadians haven't forgotten why we turfed Harper. Michael Harris has a report in the Tyee about a Tory organizer in Pontiac, Quebec who contacted 40-50 local Tories to float the idea of drafting Harper to lead the party again. This fellow conceded the suggestion fell flat.

"The general response was muted, to be polite. I have not ignited a previously dormant ground-swell of Harper-mania."

The Disaffected Lib said...

True enough, Owen. There's such enormous speculation on what a post-Covid world order will look like, the common assumption seeming to be that we can't go back to our old ways. Beyond that there's a cornucopia of opinions as to what the next big thing "must" look like. It seems we're all over the board on imagining our future. That, to me, suggests we're more apt to get little more than the existing powers pushing a "reset" button to restore the old ways. I don't believe there's much chance of reform without consensus on what that should look like. We need something that enough of us can coalesce behind. What that is I don't know.

Anonymous said...

The Little Pope does not have any money to waste therefore he planes on selling off the parks as he is selling crown land.
And yes, Harper is behind it. I remember mentioning Some time ago, we were going to hear from Harper again. ... he is not taking his defeat lying down. Look out for those who voted to oust Harper, the will pay out big time.