Pembina Institute to assess updated methane regulations as Alberta seeks equivalency

Pembina Institute reiterates timeline and process on path to federal equivalency

CALGARY — The Government of Alberta has released updated methane regulations as it seeks to achieve federal equivalency. Jan Gorski, senior analyst at the Pembina Institute, made the following comment:

“We are looking forward to evaluating the improvements Alberta has made to its methane regulations as it seeks to achieve equivalency with the federal regulation designed to reduce emissions of this especially potent and long-lasting greenhouse gas.

“As we evaluate Alberta’s proposed changes, to determine if the province’s regulations will reach the required level of stringency, we will be looking for improvements that address shortcomings in leak detection, repair requirements and venting limits, and changes to address inaccurate and outdated measurement and reporting requirements that significantly underestimated the venting problem.

“It is important to note that federal equivalency has not yet been granted, and Alberta’s regulations still require formal review. If the federal government deems the Alberta regulations to be equivalent, a draft equivalency agreement will be issued, followed by a 60-day public consultation. During this time we hope the Government of Alberta will be transparent with its numbers and modelling to show the public exactly how it is meeting its methane emissions reduction targets.

“The new federal Emissions Reduction Fund will reduce the cost burden to industry as it works to reduce dangerous methane emissions. Looking forward, Alberta and Canada have an opportunity to go beyond the current methane targets and demonstrate global leadership. We hope the province will seize this opportunity to help improve the carbon competitiveness of the oil and gas sector, and contribute to achieving Canada’s 2030 climate commitments.”

Quick facts

Process

The process for pursuing federal equivalency on methane regulations is as follows:

  • A province issues its own regulations.
  • These regulations are submitted to the federal government for evaluation.
  • If the federal government determines that the provincial regulations achieve equivalent outcomes to those of the federal regulations, a draft equivalency agreement is issued.
  • This is followed by a 60-day public comment period.
  • The federal government takes public comments into account and may require changes to provincial regulation or text of the equivalency agreement.
  • Once satisfied, the federal government issues a final equivalency agreement, at which point the provincial regulation comes into effect.

Timeline

  • In April 2018, federal methane regulations were finalized, to come into effect in January 2020.
  • In April 2018, Alberta released its initial draft methane regulations with the intention of pursuing federal equivalency.
  • In December 2018, after public consultation, Alberta released an updated version of these regulations, which fell short of achieving federal equivalency.
  • On January 1, 2020, the federal methane regulations came into force in all provinces across Canada. For provinces pursuing equivalency, this meant both provincial and federal regulations were simultaneously in force.
  • In April 2020, B.C. achieved equivalency and the provincial regulations came into force.
  • In April 2020, Saskatchewan updated its methane regulations in an effort to achieve federal equivalency, and is currently awaiting federal government evaluation to determine if equivalency has been achieved.
  • On May 12, 2020, Alberta updated its methane regulations in an effort to achieve equivalency with federal regulations. 

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Contact

Michelle Bartleman (English / français)
Communications Lead – Alberta
587-588-5744

Background

FactsheetComparing Provincial and Federal Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Regulations – Factsheets for Policy Makers (September 2019)

ReportPolicy Approaches for Reducing Methane Emissions: Comparing regulations, carbon pricing, and subsidies (November 2018)

About the Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is a non-profit think-tank that advocates for strong, effective policies to support Canada’s clean energy transition. We have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto. Learn more: www.pembina.org.