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Alberta suspends environmental monitoring rules for oilsands over COVID concerns

EDMONTON — The Alberta Energy Regulator has suspended a wide array of environmental monitoring requirements for companies in the oilsands.

The suspensions have been granted over public health concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision, released earlier this week, affects the operations of Imperial Oil, Suncor, Syncrude and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

They no longer must test ground and surface water, look for leaking gases, or monitor wildlife and birds.

Air-quality programs have been sharply curtailed, along with many other conditions of the companies’ licences.

Some programs are to resume by the end of September, but most have no restart date.

Alberta Energy Regulator spokesman Shawn Roth says companies must continue to collect most of the information as previously required.

He says in an email the suspensions are likely to remain in place as long as there are other COVID-related orders under the Public Health Act.

The Canadian Press

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