The Alberta Energy Regulator has suspended environmental monitoring rules for oil and gas producers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, though critics worry the move could do more to harm than help.

Earlier this week, the AER issued two directives temporarily lifting requirements regarding water quality testing, wildlife monitoring, and emissions monitoring and leak repair. However, methane monitoring requirements must still be met.

The AER had previously suspended such requirements at more than 10 oil sands sites, including Suncor's Fort Hills project and Syncrude's Mildred Lake upgrader.