Have you heard about methane?

 

Methane is the main component of natural gas – the gas that heats our homes and creates 40 per cent  of the electricity in Alberta. Unfortunately some oil and gas companies are wasting millions of dollars worth of it a year – over $66 million actually.

 

Sign our petition to tell the Alberta government we want stronger regulations on methane emissions.

As if this wasteful behaviour isn’t bad enough, methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, over 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years. Methane and other gases are leaking from faulty and outdated equipment, or are being vented intentionally. This is impacting the air quality, causing numerous health problems for people too. There are many reasons why releasing a valuable and dangerous gas into the air is a problem.

In fact, both the provincial and federal governments recognize that methane emissions are such a significant problem that they have committed to reducing those emissions by 45 per cent. Both governments have recently released regulations on how they are going to work with industry to achieve this necessary first step. What’s more, Environmental Defence Canada found that 71 per cent of Albertans want methane regulations that are at least as strong as those found in the United States.

 

There’s a problem with Alberta’s methane regulations.

 

The regulations are not as strong as either the federal government’s regulations or the regulations found in the United States.

The Alberta methane regulations don’t need to be the same as the federal regulation. But they do need to ensure that the equivalent amount of methane is reduced by 2025. However, it is unlikely that Alberta’s proposed regulations are going to actually be equivalent to the federal ones;  Here’s why:

  • The Alberta regulations propose oil and gas companies only inspect equipment once per year to find and repair methane leaks. In contrast, the federal regulations require inspections three time a year. Inspecting only once a year means equipment will continue leaking methane much longer.
  • The Alberta methane regulations allow companies to self monitor. Studies shows self monitoring often leads to under reporting – often less than half of the wasted methane is reported.
  • Methane being vented by pressure control devices is excluded until Jan 1. 2023. These devices are already under reported, so more methane is vented than currently accounted for.

Oh and did I mention the government is going to give oil and gas companies $2.3 billion to do this work? That’s a lot for regulations that may not work.

 

Better methane regulations mean more jobs for Albertans

 

Stronger regulations mean more work for people who inspect and fix equipment the leaks, and who monitor sites to measure the amount of methane emissions.  Methane abatement jobs are a great fit for unemployed oil and gas workers. These workers have highly transferable skills that are sought after in a low carbon future. Getting Albertans to work on green jobs will be necessary for Alberta’s long term competitiveness.  The combination of inspecting only once a year, along with oil and gas companies self reporting, means fewer jobs than if Alberta’s regulations were closer to the federal ones.

There’s another great reason for better methane regulations – royalties. By capturing and selling the $66 million worth of gas just leaking away, Alberta can collect royalties on it, and we can use that gas to heat our homes or power our cities!

 

We need a strong Made-In-Alberta solution

 

You may hear oil and gas companies say the proposed Alberta regulations are better than the federal ones for keeping the industry competitive. But did you know that our competitors down in the states, including California, Colorado and Wyoming all have much stronger methane regulations? And companies there say they have seen little to no net cost to reduce their methane emissions. Keep in mind that the province is planning to give Alberta companies $2.3 billion to help them tackle methane. We need to get our money’s worth.

Another note about competitiveness. Investors are calling on companies to disclose how much methane they release and want companies to be clearer about their impacts on climate change.  Stronger regulations can make Alberta companies more competitive, not less so.

Better methane regulations mean fewer leaks and less waste. Better regulations also mean more jobs and royalties. Better regulations are a good for our health and the environment.

Sign our petition to tell the Alberta government we want stronger regulations on methane emissions.

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