ESAA Weekly News – Week ending February 19th, 2021

This issue sponsored by: THINK Envirotechnical Services

Funds target cleanup on Indigenous oil and gas sites

Two new rounds of the Site Rehabilitation Program will provide $400 million to create thousands of jobs for Albertans while completing significant environmental cleanup across the province – including on First Nations reserves and Metis Settlements.

The governments of Alberta and Canada are advancing their commitment to ensure Indigenous businesses and communities play a meaningful role in Alberta’s post-pandemic energy strategy by targeting $100 million of federal Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) grant funding to clean up inactive oil and gas sites in Indigenous communities across Alberta.

Alberta’s government worked with Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses, the Indian Resource Council and the Metis Settlements General Council to develop the details of this grant allotment, which includes $85 million for First Nations reserves and $15 million for Metis Settlements to work with licensees to close sites located on or around their lands.

“The Site Rehabilitation Program is cleaning up legacy oil and gas sites across the province and creating thousands of much-needed jobs. As stewards of the land, this funding will ensure that Indigenous people benefit from resource development on land that was first inhabited by their ancestors.” – Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

“Working with Minister Savage and the Government of Alberta, we are creating jobs, cleaning up our environment, and supporting the hard-working people in our oil and gas sector – including in First Nations and Métis communities.” – Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources

“This is an investment in a strong future for Indigenous people in Alberta, who will benefit from the jobs created and the reclaimed lands in their communities. Programs like this are game-changers for Indigenous communities.” – Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“First and foremost, I am thankful to the Creator for another day and for the bounty that Mother Earth provides. The SRP Indigenous set aside will allow Alberta First Nations and Metis Settlements to reduce liabilities by decommissioning and cleaning up well sites across Alberta. During this time, First Nations-owned companies and member-owned companies, along with existing and new partnership creations, can get working to create gainful employment in a difficult period as this pandemic and downturn of the oil industry has caused hardships for many. We look forward to working with the province, ministers, industry, Indian Resource Council and service providers to make this program a success. ‘Our Mother Earth takes care of us, as her children, we need to take care of her.’” – Chief Greg Desjarlais, Frog Lake First Nations #121 and #122

“This $100-million collaboration between First Nations represented by the Indian Resource Council, the Metis Settlements and the Government of Alberta shows unprecedented progress towards reconcili-action in the protection of land, lives and livelihoods.” – Chief William (Billy) Morin, Enoch Cree Nation

A second new funding allotment will provide up to $300 million to oil and gas producers who had production in 2019 and paid for closure work in 2019 or 2020. This is the program’s largest grant period and is designed to give contractors and licensees the funding and time to work on closure projects of all scopes and sizes – leading to the cleanup of a significant number of oil and gas sites across the province. As with all rounds of the Site Rehabilitation Program, only new work conducted after May 1, 2020 is eligible for grant funding. 

“Closure work creates jobs and positive environmental outcomes that enhance Alberta’s ESG record and provides valuable economic benefits to rural communities. PSAC has long advocated for a mechanism to accelerate the decommissioning of orphan and inactive sites to provide the sector with jobs during this prolonged downturn. We are pleased that the Governments of Canada and Alberta have heard us and responded with this important program.” – Elizabeth Aquin, interim president and CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada

Including these two rounds, which will open to applications on Feb. 12, $800 million in SRP grants have been made available to eligible applicants since launching in May 2020. In total, the program is expected to generate almost 5,300 direct jobs and lead to indirect employment – and economic benefits – across the province.

The Alberta government continues to work with an Industry Advisory Committee and an Indigenous Roundtable to help make continuous improvements to the program and its processes.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.
Quick facts

Through the Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP), launched in May 2020, the Alberta government is directing up to $1 billion of federal oil and gas COVID-19 economic stimulus over two years to get Albertans back to work by speeding up well, pipeline and site closure efforts in the energy sector.

As of Feb. 12, $310.3 million of grant funding has been allocated to 633 Alberta-based companies for periods 1 through 4 of the program.

Applications for grant periods 5 and 6 will remain open until March 31, 2022.

During period 6, Indigenous communities will be provided a community-specific allocation.

Contractors have until Dec. 31, 2022, to complete their work through the program.

Remaining grant periods for the balance of the $1-billion funding commitment will be announced in the coming months.

Related information


City of Edmonton seeking court order to curb odour issues from west-end composting site

The City of Edmonton is seeking a court order to curb longstanding odour issues from a west-end composting site, which could include closure of the facility.

In an application filed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, the city is seeking an injunction that would require Cleanit Greenit Composting System Inc. to cease the production of nuisance odours. This could be in the form of a closure order or a court-ordered development of an effective control strategy to ensure that any odours generated don’t leave the site.

Cleanit Greenit, in the Winterburn Industrial Area just west of Anthony Henday Drive, has been the subject of odour complaints from nearby neighbourhoods dating back to 2003. Between Feb. 21 and Dec. 9 of last year, the city received 300 complaints from residents about two to four kilometres away identifying the composting site as the cause of odour. Complainants have compared the smell to sour garbage, rotting food or hot sewage.

“Despite the efforts of the city, Cleanit Greenit continues to create a nuisance odour that is creating a disturbance to residents of Edmonton. This constitutes a bylaw contravention of a continuing nature and a public nuisance,” the city wrote in its court application. “Although Cleanit Greenit is located in an industrial area of the city, the complaints received by the city suggest that the nuisance odour is travelling significant distances and largely dependent on the speed and direction of the wind.”

In a response to the court application, Cleanit Greenit CEO Kirstin Castro-Wunsch said the company is disappointed in the decision, arguing there are other sources of odour in the area attributing to the issues. A 2020 investigation report conducted by the company said 208 investigations were conducted by hired patrollers and 13 cases of odour were found in residential neighbourhoods. The average intensity of the smell was three out of 10 and lasted less than an hour, the report said.

“Cleanit Greenit is disappointed with the City of Edmonton’s position given the significant efforts the company has made to control and prevent odour from its composting facility,” Castro-Wunsch said in a Thursday statement. “We look forward to the opportunity to present our case in court in response to this unnecessary and costly action taken against a locally owned and operated company.”

In opposition to Cleanit Greenit’s argument of other odour sources, the city hired its own consultant firm with expertise in odour tracing and its report determined the smell is attributable to the composting site. To support the court application, the city has submitted 47 affidavits offering the experiences of impacted residents.

“The City of Edmonton has also sought information regarding other entities who could possibly be the source of the odour. The information received demonstrates that odour emanating from these other entities is either unlikely or impossible,” the city’s application said.

Due to COVID-19-related court delays, there is no current time frame for when the application will be heard.

The composting site has been operating since 1998 and diverts 20,000 tonnes of organic waste from the landfill each year. In December, Cleanit Greenit paid a $4,000 fine for 14 of the 33 tickets issued by the city since June 2019.

 

Efforts continue on Alberta’s orphan wells

(Source: The Western Producer) Lars De Pauw, executive director of the OWA, said the association will spend $200 million this year and $217 million next year decommissioning and reclaiming oil and gas well company assets and is making steady progress.

The rapid pace set by the Orphan Well Association means it cannot always wait until crops are off or conditions are ideal Alberta’s Orphan Well Association has set itself a rapid pace in decommissioning and reclaiming oil and gas well company assets that come under its authority.

There are a lot of them. Lars De Pauw, executive director of the OWA, said the association will spend $200 million this year and $217 million next year on that work and is making steady progress. Funds come mostly from the oil and gas industry, though the OWA does have interest-free repayable loans from the Alberta and federal governments.
De Pauw provided information during the Feb. 4 Red Bow Ranching Conference, noting landowners can contact the Alberta Energy Regulator to learn who is responsible for any oil and gas well sites or infrastructure on their land.

The OWA has a website list of sites under its management that is updated every month.

As of Feb. 1, for example, there were 1,973 orphan wells on its list as well as 3,556 pipeline segments, said De Pauw.

A site or well is only designated as an orphan when the AER has reviewed the well, facility, pipeline or associated site and when there is no legally responsible or financially viable party. As well, orphans are designated only after insolvency proceedings involving the former operator have occurred, said De Pauw.

Insolvencies have risen markedly since the economic decline in the energy sector. Several large companies have left the field and their departure can create confusion among landowners about who is responsible.

De Pauw said the OWA recently added 668 sites from Calgary-based Houston Oil and Gas, which ceased operations in November 2019. Trident Energy, which ceased operations in May 2019, is still in the receivership process and about 900 wells may be designated as orphans, though that has not yet occurred.

About 300 wells formerly operated by Point Loma Resources and 750 by Bow River Energy Ltd. are in a similar situation. The approximately 2,300 wells formerly operated by Sequoia Resources Corp. are still subject to legal proceedings and are thus not on the OWA list either.

“I think our organization very clearly recognizes that many landowners have been adversely impacted by these defunct operators as they’re going through this insolvency process,” said De Pauw.

“It’s pretty clear that when companies are going bankrupt they do stuff related to the surface rights.… They also could do things that are inappropriate with the condition of the site. So we definitely realize that when we step into a site that has been orphaned, that the likelihood of the landowner being adversely impacted historically is a very clear situation.”

Many landowners have reported energy company efforts to reduce lease payments or not pay them at all. Many companies owe back taxes to the municipalities in which they have sites, a figure estimated to be more than $170 million.

De Pauw noted the OWA cannot pay back rent to landowners, though that is a frequently posed question. Application for payment of owed lease fees must be made to the Surface Rights Board.

Similarly, the OWA is not responsible for weed control on the sites, which is another rampant problem. If landowners undertake weed control themselves, they can include those expenses in any applications they make to the SRB.

If a site on private land is designated as an orphan, the landowner will receive a package in the mail containing information on the OWA, information on how to apply to the SRB for lease payments and information on what work is planned. After a site inspection, a sign is posted indicating OWA responsibility.

The contractor doing the reclamation is expected to let the landowner know when it will occur.

The rapid pace set by the OWA means it cannot always wait until crops are off or land and weather conditions are ideal before doing the work, said De Pauw. Its authority is delegated by the AER so it has legal access under legislation.

“Even though we have the legal authority to do this access, we have a positive relationship with most of the landowners.”

He added that some are adamant that the OWA not enter their land and unless there is a safety or environmental issue, it will comply.

“However, we are obligated to let the Surface Rights Board know that our access has been restricted and they can take that into consideration when they pay or do not pay any kind of surface rent payments. I guess its kind of, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too,’ if you’re looking to get those rents,” De Pauw said.

With many sites on its list, priorities need to be set. At the top are sites that threaten public safety. Next are sites near each other that can be managed efficiently. The third priority is chronological, focusing on the amount of time since a site was deemed an orphan.

CCME: Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants: 2015–2016 Progress Report

CCME has posted the Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants: 2015–2016 Progress Report.

In 2006 CCME endorsed Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants (CWS). The CWS set targeted caps for each signatory jurisdiction for the year 2010. This report presents information for 2015-2016 on the attainment of 2010 emissions caps under the CWS.

Please click here for details.

Upcoming Events

Virtual EnviroTech 2021 Information and Call for Abstracts
June 2 & 3 

While we had hoped to see you all in-person at EnviroTech 2021, with the ongoing COVID19 restrictions, EnviroTech will once again be on-line, scheduled for June 2nd & 3rd. Complete EnviroTech 2021 details can be found at: www.esaa.org/envirotech

ESAA has listened to all of the feedback we received through 2020 and we have made a number of major changes to the delivery of EnviroTech 2021. 

What changes can you expect?

  • New Event Website
  • New Platform
  • Virtual Exhibits
  • Virtual Group Chat Features
  • Individual Speed Networking
  • and much more

Additional details about the platform will be released in the weeks prior to EnviroTech.

Registration, Sponsorship, and Exhibitor Information

Registration: Registration is now open for EnviroTech 2021.  Early bird rates for members and non-members are available until April 16th.  Rates start as low as $69.  Student and Unemployed rates are also available.  Register Now at: www.esaa.org/envirotech

Sponsorship: If you were a sponsor in 2020, we will be in touch with you shortly about your options for 2021 and how to use any credits you have on file with ESAA for EnviroTech.  Watch your email in the next 7-10 days for additional details. For new sponsors, information will be available soon via the sponsor page of the EnviroTech 2021 website.

Virtual Exhibit Space: Virtual exhibit space is only available with sponsorship packages.

 
Call for Abstracts 2021

ESAA invites you to submit technical abstracts for EnviroTech 2021. Abstracts are encouraged in, but not limited to, the following areas:

Water

  • modelling, monitoring, quality, hydraulic fracturing, emerging contaminants, oilsands issues, saline, contamination, industrial re-use, wastewater treatment, risk management, groundwater, surface water, water wells, wetlands, produced water

Climate Change

  • adaptation, alternative energy, carbon credits, energy efficiency, energy from waste, GHG monitoring and sampling, regulatory, sustainability, impacts of climate change, CleanTech

Air

  • monitoring, modelling, sampling, quality, regulatory, noise management

Waste

  • landfill design, landfill closure, hazardous waste management, emerging contaminants, resource recovery, regulatory

Testing

  • laboratory testing and sampling, field testing and sampling, monitoring, analysis

Decommissioning

  • management, safety, hidden dangers, technology

Indigenous

  • engagement, stewardship

Panel Discussion

  • ESAA will consider submissions that could be used as a panel discussion for the opening of either day.

Other

  • topics from areas not listed will also be considered

The preliminary selection of presentations will be based on submitted abstracts and reviewed by a panel of peers.

Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words (not including bio), should include a presenter biography and be submitted as a Word Document by no later than midnight on Friday, April 2nd, 2021.

Before submitting your abstract, ensure that client approval has been obtained.

Send abstract submissions to Joe Chowaniec via email to: [email protected]

Notification of acceptance will be given by April 30th, 2021.

Thank you for your continued support of ESAA and ESAA events.

Overview of Saskatchewan’s Accelerated Site Closure Program
11am – 12pm
February 26th, 2021

Register Now

This presentation will provide an overview of Saskatchewan’s oil and gas Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP).  The Program is a federally funded $400 million dollar economic stimuli package that specifically target’s the Saskatchewan oil and gas service sector.  The program is estimated to abandon and reclaim approximately 8,000 inactive wells/facilities, while sustaining more than 2,000 Saskatchewan jobs.

Presenter:
Ian Wilson
Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)

Ian Wilson is a business unit manager, in the Environment and Biotech Division, at the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), where he leads inter-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and project managers tasked with the assessment and remediation of 37 former Cold War legacy uranium mine and mill sites, and the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP).  Ian has more than 18 years of environmental remediation experience and has successfully managed more than 100 assessment, remediation and site decommissioning projects around the world.

Registration is free! 

 Register Now

SustainTech 2021 – Registration Now Open

SEIMA IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE 2021 SUSTAINTECH CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD THURSDAY MARCH 18, 2021 AS A VIRTUAL CONFERENCE.

SustainTech continues to be a well-attended conference that promotes sustainability and environmental responsibility and brings together industry, academia, consultants, and regulators to share ideas on new developments and technologies that help us make a better and more sustainable world.

The conference highlights the latest environmental practices and technologies from industry, consultants, and regulators to address sustainability issues over the lifecycle of Saskatchewan’s principal resource sectors, including: agriculture, mining, and oil and gas.

This years event will be condensed to 12 speakers.  All sessions will be available for viewing live as well as post conference through the conference platform to all registered attendees.

Sponsorship and Exhibit opportunities are also available.  Contact the office at [email protected] to learn more!

The Full Conference Program will be announced next week
Register – https://seima.member365.com/public/event/details/4271d9a60f20b1f5a38a49595da38cc71fa81b33/1

ESAA Job Board

Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board.  Members can post ads for free.

Current Listings:
  • Business Development Manager – Remediation Services – Clean Harbors
  • Health & Safety Coordinator – McCue Engineering Contractors
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  • Mechanical Engineer / Project Manager – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Summer Students / Seasonal Staff – Vegetation Management – North Shore Environmental Consultants
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  • Senior Aquatic Ecologist – SLR Consulting
  • Environmental Scientist – SLR Consulting
  • Principal Hydrogeologist – SLR Consulting
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  • Intermediate Reclamation Specialist – Ecoventure
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