AER Resuming All Monitoring Efforts in Mid-July

Environmental monitoring will be resuming after being temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The provincial government announced on Tuesday they’ve repealed two orders they put in place to stop certain monitoring, paving the way for the Alberta Energy Regulator to continue on July 15.

Originally, the GoA was planning to keep these orders in place for another four weeks.

“The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic required us to operate under an abundance of caution during the height of the health emergency,” said Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy.

“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.”

Over the past several weeks, the AER had temporary halted all soil monitoring, surface water quality testing, groundwater sampling, fugitive emissions leak detection, and more.

They also updated monitoring plans for Suncor, CNRL, Syncrude, and Imperial Oil.

These decisions were met with pushback from many in Wood Buffalo and across the province.

“Environmental monitoring and protection are critical elements of oil sands operations that should never be considered optional,” said Allan Adam, Chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, in a statement.

The ACFN was just one of several Indigenous communities who called for the suspension to be reversed.

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