Alberta suspends some environmental monitoring at 16 oilsands projects due to COVID-19

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The Alberta Energy Regulator has suspended more than a dozen environmental rules at 16 different oilsands projects after four major companies in the Canadian oil patch asked for relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regulator, an independent provincial organization which acts as an industry watchdog, told Global News in a statement that companies would still have to collect most of the monitoring information required previously.

But it said that a number of requirements to monitor air, water and wildlife would be suspended in order to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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The watchdog declined to provide further details of how it determined that some monitoring activity would be risky, but noted that it would continue to monitor and inspect energy sites.

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The regulator described the rule changes on its website as “unilateral” amendments to previously approved conditions of 16 different oilsands mining and in situ projects operated by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

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