Ottawa Reaches Deals With Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC to Reduce Methane Emissions

Ottawa Reaches Deals With Alberta, Saskatchewan, and BC to Reduce Methane Emissions
Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on March 10, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo

The federal government announced Thursday it has finalized deals with three provinces to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said proposals by Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia will achieve the same methane cuts as rules suggested by Ottawa.

Methane is estimated to be 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.

Canada has promised to reduce emissions by up to 45 percent by 2025.

According to Alberta, the deal will protect the province from increasing red tape and additional costs imposed by both provincial and federal regulations on its energy sector. It also estimates that its methane regulation can cut more emissions at half the cost than the federal system by 2030.

“Nobody is better positioned to manage Alberta’s emissions than Alberta,” said Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks.

Likewise, for Saskatchewan and British Columbia, each has sought to develop its own methane standards in response to industry demands for more flexible regulations. Both provinces forecast that their regulations will cost less than Ottawa's.

Wilkinson has said the regulations may have to be tightened if the reduction goal isn't being met.

Ottawa has also announced a $750 million partly forgivable loan program to help the industry cut its emissions.

With files from The Canadian Press.