WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has committed to the responsible protection of Alberta’s air, land, water and biodiversity; and
WHEREAS Alberta’s municipalities and their citizens have concerns with the quality of air and water as it relates to oil and gas industry facilities; and
WHEREAS the rules for monitoring and enforcing regulations with respect to environmental issues related to the oil and gas industry fall to both Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Energy Resources Conservation Board; and
WHEREAS the Province announced they will introduce legislation in the fall of 2012 for a Provincial Single Energy Regulator; and
WHEREAS Alberta’s municipalities want to ensure that provincial standards for air and water quality in the Province are met; and
WHEREAS provincial policy does not clarify the responsible agency for enforcing standards with respect to air and water quality;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Province of Alberta to clearly define who is the responsible agency for monitoring and enforcing the quality of air and water when creating the Provincial Single Energy Regulator.
When municipalities or private individuals have raised concerns with air quality in the vicinity of oil and gas facilities they have been directed to either Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development or the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). There is no clear policy on which of these provincial entities enforces/monitors Provincial Standards related to air quality (odour) or water quality (pollutants).
Resolution 17-10F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to conduct more research, provide more education and, where appropriate, introduce regulation (legislation) to ensure geothermal activity is not at the expense of other environmental considerations.
Alberta Energy has no comment on this resolution, as the legislation covering air and water falls under the jurisdiction of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development:
On December 10, 2012, the Responsible Energy Development Act received Royal Assent. The Act established a single regulator for oil, gas, oil sands, and coal projects. The new Alberta Energy Regulator will be responsible for energy projects from application to reclamation, and will perform the regulatory functions currently administered by the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development.
The Alberta Energy Regulator will consider and decide applications for energy projects, monitor energy resource activity site conditions, and the effects of energy resource activities on the environment and monitor and enforce compliance with energy legislation and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Water Act, Public Lands Act, and Part 8 of the Mines and Minerals Act. The Alberta Energy Regulator is expected to be in operation by June 2013.
The Alberta Energy Regulator will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing air and water quality standards for energy resource activities. Under the new Act, the Alberta Energy Regulator is required to regulate energy resource activities in accordance with any applicable Alberta Land Stewardship Act regional plan, including any air and water quality standards set out in the plan. The Government of Alberta will continue to set provincial air and water quality standards, and assure the overall achievement of desired environmental outcomes for the province.
The government’s response explains the establishment of the new Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) with the Responsible Energy Development Act receiving royal assent. The AER works with air and water quality standards set by the Government of Alberta and monitors energy resource activity, and enforces compliance with applicable legislation such as the Environment Protection And Enhancement Act, the Water Act and the Public Lands Act. In clarifying the role of the new regulator, the request of this resolution has been met and as such, the AAMDC has assigned this resolutions the status of Accepted.
Despite the status of this resolution, the AAMDC is concerned about the confusion surrounding the regulation of transloader facilities and will be monitoring the work of the provincial and federal government to clarify regulatory responsibility of those sites.