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article imageCanada proposes new regulations on methane gas emissions

By Karen Graham     May 26, 2017 in Politics
On Thursday, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced proposed regulations to reduce methane emissions and air pollution from Canada's oil and gas industry. The public has until July 27, 2017, to comment on the rules.
The proposed rules are in keeping with the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to reduce methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent by 2025., according to the press release put out by the Government of Canada.
The Environmental Defence Fund applauded the move by the government of Justin Trudeau, noting this is the "first regulatory package to be introduced by the Trudeau administration for Canada to meet its overall climate goals."
Canada has also taken a bold step in announcing the regulations to control methane emissions at a time when the Trump administration in Washington is on course to repeal methane regulations in the U.S. enacted by President Barack Obama.
Record high for global greenhouse gas emissions
Record high for global greenhouse gas emissions
Paz Pizarro, Simon Malfatto, AFP
As a matter of fact, McKenna singled out the states of California, Colorado, and North Dakota, citing their methane regulations as being something Canada should try to emulate. “By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change. And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector,” McKenna said in a statement.
The oil and gas sector is the largest emitter of climate-warming methane gas, as well as air pollution in Canada. There are volatile organic compounds, many of them toxic to humans found in air pollution and they contribute to the smog blanketing some cities.
And believe it or not, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions is cost effective not only for the government and the oil and gas sector but for all Canadians. “These regulations will help producers save over $1.5 billion worth of natural gas between 2018 and 2035," McKenna said.
The regulations primarily target methane leaks in the drilling process, leaks from equipment, the venting of unused gas at wells and other places. A meeting between Trudeau and Obama last year elicited an agreement that Canada would also cut down on methane emissions, something that Trump is not interested in.
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Catherine McKenna
"By better detecting and patching leaks, companies will be able to save and sell that natural gas and do their part to fight climate change. And this will support more modern technology and good new jobs in the oil and gas sector. Our government knows that, through innovation and technology, we can reduce emissions while improving the health of Canadians.”
Under Canada’s proposed approach to the regulations, provinces and territories will be given the flexibility to develop their own regulations to replace the federal ones - if they can achieve similar outcomes. The proposed regulations are also part of Budget 2017, with $200 million being committed to supporting clean technology, research and development, and demonstration and adoption of clean technology in Canada’s natural resources sectors.
These proposed regulations will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on May 27, 2017. Provinces, industry stakeholders, and interested Canadians are invited to provide comments to Environment and Climate Change Canada, until July 27, 2017.
More about Methane gas, oil and gas industry, proposed regulations, Climate change, potent GHG
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