Additional monitoring efforts across the oilsands are being temporarily suspended.
In two separate decisions released on their website on Wednesday, the Alberta Energy Regulator says they won’t be covering a wide range of activities due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes soil monitoring, surface water quality testing, groundwater sampling, fugitive emissions leak detection, and more.
“The Alberta Energy Regulator finds it necessary and appropriate to balance the need for monitoring of environmental conditions with the need to ensure public safety and safety of essential workers during this public health emergency,” one of the decisions read.
The AER also notes they’ve received legitimate concerns that these efforts can’t be met while complying with virus orders and guidelines.
Meanwhile, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is just one Indigenous group who’ve publicly denounced the move.
“Environmental monitoring and protection are critical elements of oil sands operations that should never be considered optional,” said Chief Allan Adam, in a statement.
“We believe that maintaining these requirements while taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions is the only responsible course of action.”
The ACFN is calling on the AER to reverse the decision.