Monitoring Priority Area Update

Kelly Munkittrick

Kelly Munkittrick
Director, Monitoring Priority Area

It’s been another busy quarter for Monitoring. One of the big highlights was, of course, COSIA’s first Innovation Summit.The Monitoring stream of the Summit included a number of international speakers who spoke to other joint industry monitoring programs that have been developed internationally.

They provided some great perspective on the continued development of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program (JOSM). The presentations confirmed that the other large-scale monitoring programs took about seven years to get their feet under them, which provides some reassurance (but little comfort) as we continue on the development of the new monitoring system. It was also confirmed that getting clear questions to frame what is to be monitored was critical to being successful. We will continue to work to refine and clarify the questions we are asking in relation to monitoring in the oil sands. 

I also gave my course on Industry-Driven Research related to Environmental Monitoring for the first time at the Innovation Summit. It was well-received and I’m looking forward to giving it again at a number of conferences coming up this summer and fall.

We had our Strategic Offsite meeting in February. A large amount of the meeting was focused on our non-JOSM inventory. Earlier this year we established that industry spends about $130 million annually on non-JOSM monitoring, in addition to the $50 million a year that goes to the new monitoring system. Now that we have an inventory of those programs, we worked to establish priorities for streamlining them. Going forward, we will be focusing on aligning non-JOSM monitoring programs in a few priority areas, starting with wetlands.

Armed with these new priorities, we will be attending the other EPAs’ Strategic Offsite meetings this spring to look for synergies with projects that can be aligned with Monitoring. We’ll also be discussing ways to improve information flow from JIPs and EPA-led studies into Monitoring initiatives.

We’ve already seen some success in this area with the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) EPA. We are working to align a number of initiatives funded under JOSM, focused on the monitoring of area fugitive emissions from tailings ponds and mine faces. We’ll be working to align JOSM monitoring components with some of the monitoring pilots underway through the GHG EPA in order to compare the effectiveness of these new technologies with current methods. A great example of this is Imperial’s Satellite Monitoring of Area Fugitive Emissions project, which you can read more about in this issue of Collaborator.