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Saskatoon chapter calls for national standards on methane emissions

Saskatoon chapter activist Tim Quigley.

The Council of Canadians Saskatoon chapter has written the federal government asking for action on the issue of venting and flaring in Saskatchewan.

In his letter to the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, chapter activist (and University of Saskatchewan College of Law Professor Emeritus) Tim Quigley writes, “Our chapter has decided to tackle the issue of methane and associated gas emissions through venting, flaring, and leakage at oil and gas installations. As you are likely aware, roughly one-fifth of all of Saskatchewan’s emissions come from these sources and, of course, methane is perhaps as much as 86 times worse as a contributor to climate change.”

He then notes, “Our chapter has undertaken a fair amount of research and has contacted other jurisdictions, including Alberta and North Dakota, both of which have treated the issue much more seriously than has Saskatchewan. In addition to writing to Premier Brad Wall and Minister [of the Economy Bill] Boyd, three of us travelled to Regina and met with officials from the Petroleum Development Branch of the Ministry of the Economy. Sadly, the responses we have received from all Saskatchewan sources have been disappointing, if not an outright rejection of taking any action whatever.”

And he asks, “In the face of apparent intransigence, we ask the federal government to set standards as soon as possible for a dramatic reduction in the methane emissions from oil and gas installations. Recognizing that there are some logistical and economic issues associated with this, we urge you to quickly prohibit the venting of methane and associated gases and, in the short-term, to require flaring. This should not be a substitute, however, for a long-term solution that deals with all of venting, flaring, and leakage. Any solution must require the monitoring of all of these fugitive emissions and that monitoring must be done independently from the industry itself.”

Along with the chapter, we look forward to the minister’s reply to this letter.

Further reading
Saskatoon chapter calls for an end to methane venting and flaring (December 1, 2014)
Saskatoon chapter activist calls for an end to subsidies for the fossil fuel industry (November 26, 2015)