Alberta’s draft methane regulations for the oil and gas sector are indisputably weaker than federal ones in several ways


OTTAWA — Alberta’s draft regulations to reduce oil and gas methane are significantly weaker than those already passed by the federal government, finds a new report by Environmental Defence. The result is that Alberta may forgo billions in economic, social, and environmental benefits.

“Applying strong regulations across the country is a no-brainer. The benefits of strong regulations are clear: better human health, lower air pollution, less wasted gas, and lower impacts on climate change,” said Dale Marshall from Environmental Defence. “There are $9 billion in benefits to Canada on the line.”

“There are still thousands of unemployed oil and gas workers who would be able to do the work required to stop methane leaks,” added Joshua Buck, Alberta Program Manager. “Meanwhile, we’re seeing record healthcare spending in the province. It only makes sense for Alberta to enact regulations that will both employ people and lower health care costs.”

The gap between Alberta and federal regulations on climate-altering methane emissions will have to be resolved between the two governments, at a time where federal-provincial tensions are high.

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, provincial regulations can only supersede federal ones if the environmental benefit produced will be the same or better. Yet there are a number of ways that the Alberta regulations are clearly weaker than federal ones, including:
• Inspections for methane leaks happen three times more often under federal rules.
• The volume of methane allowed to be vented at Alberta sites is 12 times higher.
• The Alberta regulations allow oil and gas companies to police themselves,
• Maximum penalties for infractions are much lower in Alberta.

“Something will have to give. Either Alberta will have to change its weak approach or the federal government will have to apply its rules in the province,” said Marshall. “There isn’t another option.”

The report can be accessed here.


About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

For more information, or media requests, please contact:

Barbara Hayes, Environmental Defence: 613-255-5724;