Bonnyville Mayor: Emissions Regulations will hurt local Economy

Mayor of Bonnyville Gene Sobolewski says the area will be impacted if proposed Federal regulations on methane emissions go through. The mayor spoke to Council at Tuesday’s regular council meeting to discuss some of the potential impacts.

“The Federal Government is making some changes to their regulations of methane emissions,” Sobolewski explains, “there was a target that was set for 45 percent. Currently, everybody in the region, the oilfield companies, when you look at their emissions, everyone of them well-exceed that target.”

“The proposed changes are looking at each well, rather than an overall target,” Sobolewski says this could be very detrimental to the companies operating in our region. To meet these standards there will have to be additional capital costs burdened to the companies, “it’s going to hinder their competitiveness.” The regulations could make it impossible for the wells to be profitable.

“That’s where we, the Town, the City of Cold Lake, the MD, and Lac La Biche County step in,” Mayor Sobolewski says the Town will be working with neighbouring municipalities to ensure that the region’s voice is heard. “We already have a fragile enough economy, the last thing we need is regulations that will embed our ability to be competitive in the global market.”

“If all of a sudden our economy starts to suffer, we all know what happens with jobs and we do not want to go down that road again,” Sobolewski explains about eight years ago the regional partners worked together to help with the royalty review. “We encouraged the provincial government to steer away from the heavy oil, because that royalty review was threatening competitiveness,” the mayor is hopeful that the collective voice of Northeastern Alberta will help the regulations from going through, as proposed. “We looking at having meetings with the Minister of Energy and Environment to try to encourage a more harmonious application of this regulation. We certainly do not want it to affect the competitiveness of this region. We sit on the third largest oil reserve in Alberta and we definitely do not want to jeopardize our ability to have a vibrant economy.”