As Canada faces unprecedented health crisis, memo shows fossil fuel industry demands for exemptions from environmental laws, regulatory rollbacks, and increased secrecy
Toronto, Ont. – A secret memo from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) sent to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan and released today by Environmental Defence, reveals the oil industry’s attempt to exploit the COVID pandemic crisis to achieve their own narrow ends.
Dated March 27th, the 13-page memo asks for a massive rollback in regulatory oversight, a full stop in the development of any new climate policy, and for the industry to be exempted from the requirement to report on lobbying activity. While making reference to a “do no harm principle” the memo, ironically, proposes activities that would put Canadians at risk, threaten birds, fish and other wildlife, and obliterate any hope for Canada in meeting its international obligations to fight climate change.
Environmental Defence is calling on the Federal government to publicly reject the oil and gas industry’s effort to undermine progress and put Canadians at risk. “The government must stand up for Canadians and refuse to give the fossil fuel industry special exceptions from the rules that keep us safe,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence.
“The oil industry is exploiting this crisis and asking the government for a sweeping rollback of environmental laws. It seems that CAPP has taken the adage ‘Never let a crisis go to waste’ to heart,” he continued.
Among the list of demands from CAPP:
- Don’t finalize the Clean Fuel Standard, which is being developed to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution from vehicle traffic,
- Delay federal methane regulations, or let weak provincial regulations take their place, thus increasing the amount of this powerful greenhouse gas and associated poisonous toxins going into the atmosphere,
- Cancel plans to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), further delaying Indigenous peoples having their full rights recognized,
- Cancel government commitments to reform the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, putting Canadians at ongoing risk from toxic chemicals,
- Pause the planned increase to the federal carbon price,
- Stop moving forward with any new climate policies,
- Indefinitely exempt in situ oilsands mining and exploration drilling projects from undergoing federal impact review, and
- Exempt from reporting their lobbying activities to achieve these goals. CAPP has logged 29 separate meetings with 42 senior federal officials from just March 12-31. Going forward, they want this evidence to stay hidden from the Canadian public.
“All this is quite appalling. And this has nothing to do with COVID or the economics of oil and gas. CAPP has been lobbying for many of the concessions in this memo for a long time. And now, under the cover of this crisis, they are asking to be allowed to do it all in secret and hide their lobbying from Canadians,” added Gray. “The COVID pandemic requires the federal government to offer support for people and businesses, but that does not mean throwing out laws that were created to protect Canadians’ health or our environment.”
We are calling on the Federal government to make it clear to Canadians that this greedy, grasping effort to undermine progress and put Canadians at risk will be rejected.
- Copy of CAPP’s memo to government
- Detailed analysis of the memo
- Environmental Defence report from October 2019 outlining ongoing oil industry lobbying efforts
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact
Barbara Hayes, Environmental Defence, firstname.lastname@example.org