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Alberta reinstating environmental monitoring in industry, oilpatch on July 15

Last Updated Jun 23, 2020 at 2:13 pm MDT

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. Alberta industries, including the oilpatch, will resume environmental monitoring and reporting in three weeks. The Alberta government and its energy regulator have each issued orders for reporting to resume on July 15. Testing and reporting had been suspended earlier this spring due to health and staffing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Environment Minister Jason Nixon says now is the time to resume, given the province is flattening the curve on COVID-19 other businesses are reopening, and the state of public health emergency has lifted. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta industries, including the oil patch, will resume environmental monitoring and reporting in three weeks.

The Alberta government and its energy regulator have each issued orders for reporting to resume on July 15.

Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon said industries may resume business while keeping staff and communities safe.

“The temporary reporting relief provided through Environment and Parks allowed industry time to ensure the health and safety of staff and the communities in which they work.”

Alberta lifted the public health emergency and is in the second phase of its Relaunch.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage said her office will also rescind its orders on July 15.

“There is no higher priority than the safety of workers and the communities they work in. 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.”

The province suspended testing and reporting earlier this spring due to health and staffing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Environmental critics and the Opposition NDP had been demanding the government reinstate the monitoring.

READ MORE: Letter asks Ottawa to force Alberta to reinstate oilpatch monitoring

They questioned the shut down while Alberta deemed other energy operations essential and allowed to continue.

READ MORE: Scientists criticize Alberta’s monitoring suspension, lack of consultation

Nixon said now is the time to resume, given the province is flattening the COVID-19 curve.

The Alberta Energy Regulator, which had suspended reporting and monitoring in the oilpatch, says it is also returning to normal monitoring, testing, and regulatory processes.

The resumption of services also includes opportunities for public feedback on project applications.

This report includes excerpts from the Canadian Press.