Alberta Energy Regulator to manage environmental impact assessments

Jessica Kennedy, Martin Ignasiak

Aug 21, 2014

Julius Melnitzer, Financial Post, National Post

(Recap)

On October 1, 2014, the Alberta Energy Regulator will assume responsibility for provincial environmental impact assessments on energy projects, closing a gap in Alberta’s “one-window” approach to energy regulation.

Since March 29, 2014, AER has been responsible for issuing energy approvals under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, but the authority to direct these assessments remained with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. On October 1, that will change, with responsibility for the EIA process for energy resource activities shifting to AER.

According to Martin IgnasiakJessica Kennedy and Heather Weberg, writing in an Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt Update, the change bodes well for the resource industry.

“This change is expected to enhance regulatory efficiency and certainty by ensuring that the entity for reviewing applications and associated EIAs will also manage the EIA process at the front end,” they write.

But some uncertainty remains, the authors add, regarding proposed stand-alone oil sands and heavy oil upgrading processing plants.

“We expect that guidance from the AER will assist in clarifying these matters as the effective date approaches,” they write.

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