Resolutions

Clean Up of Abandoned Hydro-Carbon Sites

Year: 2022

Resolution

Whereas the existence of a number of abandoned hydro-carbon sites have become detrimental to the surrounding neighbourhood and act to inhibit physical development, economic growth, and attract dangerous and unwanted behaviour; and

Whereas it is desirous to have a number of privately-owned abandoned hydrocarbon sites properly decommissioned, remediated and sold; and

Whereas The Environmental Management and Protection Act contains provisions that allow the Minister to take appropriate action to ensure that abandoned hydrocarbon sites are properly decommissioned and remediated;

 

Therefore be it resolved that SUMA advocate the Government of Saskatchewan to take immediate action to more frequently and fully enforce The Environmental Management and Protection Act and Regulations to require owners of abandoned hydro-carbon sites in the province to:

1. Appropriately decommission any remaining infrastructure and remediate any contamination found on the site;

2. Ensure that any required decommissioning or remediation be completed in a timely manner;

3. Enforce the particular sections of the Act that allow the Minister to complete the necessary work if the owner does not do so in a timely manner; and,

4. Enforce the particular sections of the Act that require appropriate planning for the eventual decommissioning and remediation of a hydro-carbon site, to include the provision of Financial Assurance.

 

ACTS AFFECTED: The Environmental Management and Protection Act

REGION/SECTOR AFFECTED: All

Provincial Response

2022-079

Randy Goulden President

Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association Unit 305 - 4741 Parliament Avenue

REGINA SK S4W 0T9

June 14, 2022

Dear Randy Goulden:

 

Thank you for your letter regarding the resolutions passed at the 2022 Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) annual convention. I am pleased to offer the following responses:

 

2022-06. Clean Up of Abandoned Hydro-Carbon Sites

The Ministry of Environment continues to make progress on components of the impacted sites program to support rural and urban communities that struggle with abandoned or closed impacted sites. In 2020, the ministry directed 17 companies, who are responsible for the majority of the impacted sites on record, to begin submitting annual status reports that identify all their sites and what actions are being taken on them. The ministry is using the reports to track whether the sites are being appropriately managed in accordance with impacted sites management processes and will make decisions based on risk to human health and the environment, inactivity and if additional or expedited actions are required.

The ministry is also working on further refinement of enforcement policies, to ensure discoveries of contamination are reported to the ministry and to any off-site affected landowners within the regulated timeline of 30 days. In addition, the ministry has implemented policies to ensure that off-site impacts are addressed, or that financial assurances are registered for the off-site impacts of future remediation, prior to accepting a Notice of Site Condition for the source property. The ministry continues to maintain its database, ranking all reported impacted sites according to their relative risk to human health and the environment when site assessment information is available. In most cases, the sites are low-to-medium risk and do not require immediate action.

Municipalities should report all sites that pose immediate or serious threats to human health or the environment so the ministry can ensure they are actioned appropriately and in a timely manner.

The ministry does not control land use or urban planning. There may be opportunities for municipalities to work with the persons responsible to provide incentives for brownfield redevelopment in their communities if they would like to see these sites remediated sooner and reduce demand for greenfield development. Regulatory tools, such as the Transfer of Responsibility for an Environmentally Impacted Site Chapter of the Environmental Code, can be used to facilitate land transactions and redevelopment incentives. If any sites have been abandoned and taken by the municipality in tax arrears, the ministry has some limited funding available for site assessment and corrective actions through the Impacted Sites Fund.

I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your resolutions and look forward to working with SUMA to achieve our common goals.

Sincerely,

Dana Skoropad

Minister of Environment

 

cc: Honourable Jeremy Cockrill, Minister of Highways

Honourable Jim Reiter, Minister of Energy and Resources

Mark Mcloughlin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environment

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