Alberta energy regulator releases rules on heavy oil odours after long-standing complaints

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CALGARY, A.B. — Alberta’s energy regulator is setting new rules to deal with long-standing complaints about powerful, gassy smells from heavy oil operations in the Peace Region.

The rules grew out of a 2014 inquiry after years of complaints from people in tiny communities neighbouring the operations. The AER’s new rules set limits on how much gas operators are allowed to flare off, and requires operators to control odours coming from trucks or tanks being cleaned.

The rules also include extensive reporting requirements and say operators must join local air quality management programs. The inquiry also made recommendations to the provincial government, none of which is yet in place.

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Area residents were still complaining about odours from the oilpatch as recently as last fall. The 2014 inquiry concluded the smells were damaging people’s health.

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