EDMONTON -- Alberta industries, including the oilpatch, will resume environmental monitoring and reporting in three weeks.

The Alberta government and its energy regulator have each issued orders for reporting to resume on July 15.

Testing and reporting had been suspended earlier this spring due to health and staffing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Environmental critics and the Opposition NDP had been demanding the government reinstate the monitoring, questioning why it was shut down while other energy operations were deemed essential and allowed to continue.

Environment Minister Jason Nixon says now is the time to resume, given the province is flattening the COVID-19 curve, other businesses are reopening, and the state of public health emergency has been lifted.

The Alberta Energy Regulator, which had suspended reporting and monitoring in the oilpatch, says it is also returning to normal monitoring, testing, and regulatory processes, which include opportunities for public feedback on project applications.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2020.