Thursday, April 09, 2020

#Cleantech and #ClimateChange #Podcast – Coronavirus Pandemic Casualties? Suspension of #Environmental Reporting and Rules in Canada and the US

#Cleantech and #ClimateChange #Podcast – Coronavirus Pandemic Casualties? Suspension of #Environmental Reporting and Rules in Canada and the US

The Global Concentrated #Solar Power market expected to reach $14.84 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 11.5%

Point Roberts WA, Delta BC, April 9, 2020  – ( Newswire), a global news source and leading investor resource covering cleantech and renewable energy stocks (Renewableenergystocks.comissues today’s edition of the Cleantech and Climate Change Podcast, talking about today's problems and solutions for the future.

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Today I’m taking a  look at recent developments in the US and Canada where governments are citing the current Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic to pass orders setting back environmental rules and reporting for months and in the case of the EPA, indefinitely.   

Alberta’s ministerial order dated March 17th and signed March 31st by MLA Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks, suspends existing environmental reporting requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filed under the Public Health Act (PHA) the order says for 90 days, industry does not have to report as required under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, the Water Act and the Public Lands Act, with the exception of drinking water and wastewater facilities. 

TC Energy (NYSE:TRP) (TSX: TRP.TOannounced on March 31st that it will proceed with construction of the Keystone XL after Alberta backed the project.

According to the press release, “As part of the funding plan, the Government of Alberta has agreed to invest approximately US$1.1 billion as equity in the Project, which substantially covers planned construction costs through the end of 2020. The remaining capital investment of approximately US$6.9 billion is expected to be largely made in 2021 and 2022 and funded through the combination of a US$4.2 billion project level credit facility to be fully guaranteed by the Government of Alberta and a US$2.7 billion investment by TC Energy.”   

This was followed by the energy ministerial order: Ministerial order from the Minister of Energy to immediately suspend specific legislated reporting requirements for energy companies under the Coal Conservation Act, the Oil and Gas Conservation Act and the Oil Sands Conservation Act. The modifications in the order will not defer or remove any monitoring requirements that ensure Alberta’s public safety, and environmental protection, as well as reporting required for royalty calculation and collection. (UPDATED April 6, 2020)
And now to add to this , The National Observer just reported, “The Ontario government has suspended key environmental protection oversight rules, saying they could hinder its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The change allows the Progressive Conservative government to push forward projects or laws that could significantly impact the environment, without consulting or notifying the public. Critics say they fear the relaxed rules could be used to skirt environmental oversight for projects unrelated to COVID-19.
Under the new regulation, government ministries do not have to consult the public or consider environmental values as they make decisions. The regulation doesn’t specify that those decisions must be related to COVID-19.
In the US, environmentalists are bracing from headlines that the EPA has halted environmental law enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the open-ended waiver was temporary and retroactive to March 13.”

“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements. This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment.”

Following lashing out from environmental groups, the EPA issued a statement and press release on April 4th stating, ”Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a letter to all Members of Congress to correct the record on the temporary enforcement policy that was released last week.  As should be apparent to anyone who reads the policy, allegations that EPA “will cease all enforcement actions during the coronavirus pandemic” and that the temporary policy “absolves polluters of all responsibility” are simply not true.
“EPA’s enforcement authority and responsibility remains active,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules. We will continue to work with federal, state and tribal partners to ensure that facilities are meeting regulatory requirements, while taking appropriate steps to protect the health of our staff and the public.”
All of this may be temporary and may not have the intended implications that have environmentalists deeply concerned but it does follow a letter sent to the EPA  by the American Petroleum Institute, lobbying for the suspension of rules requiring these companies to fix leaky equipment or monitor pollution.  

I have said this several times lately in my podcasts but it warrants repeating. It was only months ago that climate change activists and protestors were marching globally in the hundreds of thousands and Indigenous groups in Canada were physically blocking the  progress of pipelines, supported by climate change protestors; now we are limited to gatherings of groups of 5-10 people.

Uniting is an antonym for isolating.

On a positive note there was significant deal flow in the sector in February
Industry deals of February 2020 tracked by GlobalData :
  • Siemens' $1.22bn acquisition of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
  • The $300m asset transaction with Glidepath Ventures by Grasshopper Solar
  • LONGi Solar Technology's acquisition of Vina Solar Technology for $253.26m.
According to Research and Markets ,” The Global Concentrated Solar Power market accounted for $5.57 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $14.84 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 11.5% during the forecast period. Some of the key factors influencing market growth include growing environmental concerns over carbon emissions and efforts to reduce air pollution, increase in government support for the adoption of renewable technologies, rise in energy demand & capability to supply power without CO2 emission. However, the higher cost of generation compared to other renewable technologies is restricting market growth.”

Thanks, that’s it for today. Do something good for this beautiful planet each and every day.

Podcast host: Dawn Van Zant, founder of

If you would like to be a guest on this podcast and tell your story please call me at 800 665 0411

For investors following cleantech stocks we do have a directory of publicly traded stocks – visit

Related podcast :
Cleantech and Climate Change Podcast - Senior Attorney with Center for Biological Diversity Discusses Environmental Impact of Government Funding TC Energy Keystone XL Pipeline

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