WHEREAS the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) has jurisdiction for approval of all sour gas wells, pipelines and power transmission lines within the Province; andWHEREAS the approval of sour gas wells, pipelines and power transmission lines will affect the safety and lives of local municipal rate payers in proximity to these facilities; andWHEREAS the Municipal Government Act, Section 3 states that one of the purposes of a municipality is to develop and maintain safe and viable communities;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal District & Counties request the Government of Alberta to set a process to allow a local municipal government to appoint a member to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) for decisions requiring hearings for any facilities in the municipality requiring EUB approval.
Over the last several years, many sour gas wells have been approved in Parkland County and Brazeau County in the Pembina/Nisku field by the EUB and this activity is expected to continue. Local residents have rallied in force and requested and received intervener status at EUB Board Hearings for these sour gas well applications. Municipalities have not historically been allowed intervener status on behalf of their residents. With a local municipal appointed representative (or local AAMDC Representative) chosen by the EUB to help rule on sour gas well applications, the local residents affected by the proposed well would have some additional representation and a more direct link to the approving body making decisions directly affecting them. This would also apply for other pipelines and power transmission line facilities within municipalities requiring EUB approvals.Residents are concerned about their safety and their children, especially in close proximity to elementary schools and their inability to evacuate in a timely manner in response to a potential leak, discharge, flaring or blowout occurring on a sour gas well, pipeline or facility. Currently the municipality feels helpless and has no say in helping protect the safety of their residents.
The AAMDC has no current resolutions pertaining to this issue. However, the AAMDC’s position on conflicting planning authorities is outlined in Higher Ground: Municipal Land Use Planning. Specifically, the AAMDC identifies challenges associated with coordinated growth management and inter-municipal or regional planning efforts. While the MGA identifies municipalities as the primary land management authority, a number of provincial organizations can impact local land use planning decisions. It is the view of the AAMDC that stronger provincial leadership is required to ensure greater coordination of municipal and provincial land use efforts.