Canada delays methane regulations for three years following U.S. retreat

Feds putting off methane regulations

OTTAWA — Canada is going to put off for three years its plan to regulate cuts to methane emissions in the oil and gas sector.

The move comes less than a month after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that hits the pause button on matching American commitments to methane cuts — and the timing is no coincidence.

Canada can’t ignore the U.S. if it wants to preserve the competitiveness of its oil and gas industry and commitments to sustainable energy, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr told The Canadian Press in an interview Friday.

“We have to keep a very close eye on what our American partners do because the economies are so interlinked,” he said.

In January 2015, then-U.S. President Barack Obama announced a plan to slash methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas sector between 40 and 45 per cent over 2012 levels by 2025. Canada agreed to match that in March 2016, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a state visit to Washington.

The United States issued initial regulatory standards in May 2016 and issued new reporting requirements for companies to submit data on equipment and operations to better track methane emissions.

Then the government changed.

In early March, the Environmental Protection Agency eliminated those new reporting requirements. Weeks later, Trump signed an executive order requiring that the methane emissions standards be re-evaluated.

Canada was to issue its first regulations this spring and they were to be implemented between 2018 and 2020.

Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers, a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, confirmed this week the government has agreed to postpone the regulations several years. Now they won’t begin until 2020 and won’t be fully in place until 2023.

The government is, however, sticking with its commitment to cut methane emissions 40 to 45 per cent over 2012 levels by 2025.

“This change to the start date will allow industry more time to make changes to operations, and to budget the capital needed,” Des Rosiers said.

“The shifted timing will also allow provinces time to finalize their provincial methane regulations for discussions on equivalency.”

Vicky Ballance, director of climate and innovation for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said her organization’s biggest concerns were about giving industry the time to meet the requirements.

“We are still 100 per cent committed to meeting that target,” notwithstanding what happens in the U.S., Ballance said.

McKenna was in California this week on a trade mission and climate change industry tour. She told a conference call Thursday that the decision was the result of listening to industry in a “smart and thoughtful way.”

“We are absolutely steadfast in reducing emissions in the oil and gas sector including methane,” said McKenna.

Canada actually has to play catch up with state-level regulations on methane emissions, said McKenna.

That is one reason environmental experts are disappointed in the regulatory delay.

Dale Marshall, national program manager of Environmental Defence, said Friday he is angry the regulations are being pushed back — especially if it is because of a U.S. decision to abandon their targets.

“Deciding that we are going to tie our boat, tie our wagon to the Trump administration on climate change is crazy,” he said. “This is the one measure that the oil and gas sector faces in the pan Canadian framework.”

— Follow @mrabson on Twitter

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fernie misses mark for Hockeyville final four

Residents of Fernie were surprised Saturday night, when the final four communities… Continue reading

Fernie local apprehended after break and enter

An eagle-eyed resident has helped Elk Valley police nab an alleged burgler.… Continue reading

Former Riders coach reflects

Mohr looking for new opportunities after contract ends

Athletes ready for world stage

Three Fernie athletes to compete in the world’s biggest junior freeride competition.

Hydro prices to surge

Elk Valley businesses brace for 3 per cent Hydro rate increase.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

New lead in one of six B.C. searches that remain unresolved

New details in case of couple who’d been flying from Cranbook to Kamloops when plane disappeared

Most Read