The Narwhal discusses 8 environmental responsibilities Alberta’s oil and gas companies can skip because of coronavirus. Experts say COVID-19 is being used as an opportunity to grant companies carte blanche waivers on ‘routine’ reporting for everything from sulphur dioxide emissions to water withdrawals for fracking to how much wastewater is being added to tailings ponds.
Earlier this month, citing the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, the Alberta government unveiled a series of sweeping orders that effectively eliminate several environmental reporting requirements for companies in the energy industry.
The orders, stemming from the minister of energy and the minister of environment and parks, state that the application of numerous parts of legislation related to the environment are “not in the public interest” at this time.
It’s what Jason Unger, executive director of the Environmental Law Centre in Edmonton, calls a “carte blanche approach.”