Opinion: BC must implement best practice regs to tackle methane emissions prior to LNG build out


In a report by a coalition of environmental groups from Canada and the US, the authors argue that while BC has long known about the importance of cutting methane emissions, it now has the regulatory solutions to address the problem.  Pembina Institute photo by Roberta Franchuk. 

BC must regulate methane pollution as LNG Canada ramps up

By the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation

This article was published by the Pembina Institute on Oct. 12, 2018.

The BC government must adopt global best practices as it looks to regulate the methane pollution footprint from BC’s natural and fracked gas sector, especially as it ramps up to supply liquefied natural gas projects.

A new report from a coalition of environmental groups from Canada and the U.S., Regulatory best practices for vented and leaked methane emissions from upstream oil and gas operations, argues that the provincial government has long known about the importance of cutting methane emissions. Now it has the regulatory solutions to address the problem.

“The need for action is urgent,” David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce said.

“Peer-reviewed research shows the natural and fracked gas industry’s methane emissions are at least 2.5 times greater than previously reported. With the government’s recent announcement to expand and export fracked gas through an LNG terminal, the need for responsible action is greater than ever.”

Alberta proposed its own regulations earlier this year, which have been widely criticized for failing to meet methane emissions targets. However, there are many examples of other national and subnational governments that have taken successful action to reign in this extremely powerful greenhouse gas.

“Several U.S. states, along with Mexico, have proposed or implemented strong regulations to cut methane pollution while also building their oil and gas industries,” Pembina Institute fossil fuels managing director Duncan Kenyon said. “It’s time for B.C. to do the same.”

In its report, the authors argue that effective methane regulations must:

  1. Require quarterly detection and repair of methane pollution leaks.
  2. Offer incentives for operators to continuously monitor their facilities.
  3. Reduce and eliminate intentional venting/dumping of methane into the atmosphere.
  4. Prioritize capturing leaking gas rather than destroying it through burning (i.e., flaring).
  5. Require equipment that does not “bleed” gas into the atmosphere.
  6. Require vapour collection and recovery.
  7. Require the regular replacement of parts known to leak when worn.

“These actions to reduce methane pollution from oil and gas companies are some of the cheapest, most effective things B.C. can do to address climate change,” Bruce said.

“Most British Columbians know that the impacts of climate change and extreme weather on our communities have been devastating and want to see action. Strong methane regulations for B.C.’s largest industrial polluter are absolutely critical for an effective and fair B.C. climate plan.”

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