M. of Energy, Mines & Petrol
New well-testing requirements and air-quality monitoring support strong environmental standards in the Peace Region, said Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.
Lekstrom praised the BC Oil and Gas Commission’s new requirements for inline well testing as a progressive step toward achieving goals and targets set out in the BC Energy Plan. As well, the minister announced a new fact-finding program to study air quality in the Peace region.
“I applaud the BC Oil and Gas Commission and their commitment to the BC Energy Plan with new well testing requirements ensuring routine flaring is further reduced in this province,” said Lekstrom. “B.C.’s vibrant natural gas and petroleum industry is a key driver of the provincial economy, and we are committed to ensuring it meets world-class environmental standards.”
Effective immediately, the Oil and Gas Commission requires inline testing for all new wells located within 1.25 km of a residence and 3.0 km or less from pipeline infrastructure. The new conditions are another step by the commission to minimize flaring and ensure B.C.’s Energy Plan goals are achieved. Details can be found at: www.ogc.gov.bc.ca/
The BC Energy Plan: A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership, released in 2007, identifies the Province’s commitments to work with industry, local communities and First Nations to build a sustainable, productive and environmentally responsible energy sector. Details about the plan can be found at: www.energyplan.gov.bc.ca/
Lekstrom and Environment Minister Barry Penner also announced that B.C.’s Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory (MAML) will visit four locations in the Peace region this summer on a fact-finding study to monitor air quality.
“This summer’s visit from the Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art air-monitoring equipment will provide valuable information about air quality in the Peace Region, in areas that we haven’t gathered data on previously,” said Lekstrom. “Although we’re not aware of any air-quality issues in these areas, it’s important that we monitor air quality so that people throughout B.C. continue to enjoy the best air quality possible.”
The MAML will travel to four locations in the Peace Region between May and August. The mobile lab will visit Kelly Lake/Toms Lake, Rolla, Farmington and Groundbirch, and will spend three to four weeks gathering air-quality data in each area.
“The MAML gives us an additional tool for air-quality testing and it can be set up anywhere in the province,” said Penner. “The B.C. government is committed to ensuring that air quality across the province is the best it can be in every community.”
The B.C. government is working to expand air-quality monitoring in areas where data is not currently gathered, including some areas in the Peace Region. Air-quality readings from 100 continuous (24-hour) reporting stations are reported on a real-time basis in the form of Air Quality Index Readings on the BC Air Quality Map at www.bcairquality.ca/readings/index.html
Lekstrom added that the new well-testing standards and the air-monitoring program both came about as a direct result of cooperation between all parties.
“These changes are the result of positive dialogue between residents of rural communities, the OGC and government,” said Lekstrom. “I would like to thank all parties for working together to bring about these improvements. We are committed to continuing to work with residents of the northeast in the future.”