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Alberta Energy Regulator cites COVID-19 crisis to pause some environmental monitoring

Alberta's Energy Regulator has suspended a number of environmental monitoring regulations for oil and gas operations across the province in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The regulator made the announcement on its website, posting two decisions that cite concerns expressed by operators that continuing work on certain types of monitoring may be difficult to perform due to pandemic response efforts.

"The Alberta Energy Regulator has received legitimate concerns and information demonstrating that the Operators will not be able to meet certain monitoring requirements contained in the Approvals while complying with the COVID-19 Orders and Guidelines," one of the decisions states.

Environmental monitoring requirements covering a broad range of industry activities have been set aside. Some activities will need to begin again by the end of September, while others have no end date for the suspension.

According to the list, activities such as monitoring of fumes from burning or monitoring for methane leak detection and repair, soil and groundwater monitoring not directly necessary "to protect human health and ecological receptors" and others are no longer required. Wildlife, reclamation and wetland monitoring are also suspended.

The decisions can be found on the AER website.

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