Calgary Conference: Identifying Frac Trends, Environmental Law and Regulation in Alberta, Complying with the New Regulatory Framework

Environmental Law and Regulation in Alberta, Complying with the New Regulatory Framework by Canadian Institute, June 5-6, 2013
Opening Remarks from the Co-Chairs: Peter Miller, Senior Counsel Imperial Oil and John Olynyk, Partner Lawson Lundell LLP (Calgary); Keynote Address: Balancing Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability, Minister of Environment & Sustainable Resource Development Alberta

New Alberta Energy Regulator: Assessing the Impact on Industry Brad Gilmour, Partner Bennett Jones LLP and Cindy Chiasson, Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre
Alberta’s Responsible Energy Development Act received royal assent in December 2012 and created the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), a single provincial regulator that will assume the functions of both the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development in regulating upstream oil, gas, oil sands and coal developments in the province. This single regulator is meant to have jurisdiction over all projects from the initial application to the reclamation process at the end of the project. AER is expected to be in operation in June 2013.

What will the new regulator look like and how will the process for project approvals change?
Will the new process allow for public engagement and to what extent? How will the  landowner registry apply to private surface agreements created before the new Act? What is the status of Alberta’s provincial environmental assessment process under the new regulator?  Defining the role of the Ministry in the EIA process What is the effect of the recently released guidance documents?

Project Development: Assessing the Effect of Regulatory Reform on First Nation and Métis Consultation in Alberta Brian McGuigan, Partner Eagle Law Group and John Olynyk, Partner Lawson Lundell LLP (Calgary)

The Alberta Energy Regulator does not have jurisdiction over the Crown’s consultations with First Nations which furthers the uncertainty that has resulted from the recent delegation of some of the procedural aspects of consultation to industry. How has the Alberta government revised its consultation protocol and who is responsible for issues related to Crown consultation?

What is the role of the regulator in the consultation process?
When can a tribunal consider whether a consultation process is adequate or not?
What are the courts saying about the role of the regulator in the consultation process?
How are treaty rights dealt with in the new environmental review framework?
How to comply with consultation requirements when undertaking exploration activities
Balancing consultation requirements with the need to protect proprietary information

Identifying Trends and Preparing for Increased Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Wally Braul, Partner Bennett Jones LLP

  • Where is the regulatory framework heading with respect to fracking?
  • Assessing the potential impact of the ERCB’s draft regulations related to sub-surface issues associated with fracking activities in Alberta
  • Analyzing recent civil actions brought against government and industry for alleged environmental contamination caused by fracking
  • Reviewing disclosure requirements for fracking fluids
  • First Nation legal challenges in Northeast BC
  • How are other jurisdictions regulating fracking activities and the content of fracking fluids?
    • Emerging issues in other provinces
    • Learning from the U.S. experience
    • How do BC and Alberta fracking rules compare with those found in the US

Protecting Against the Consequences of Environmentally Impairing a Water Source: Complying With Water Regulation and Management in Alberta
Andy Ridge Director, Water Policy Branch, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and Judy Stewart, Barristor and Solicitor

Assessing the new Alberta Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Commission and program
What is the primary function of the Commission?  How are different monitoring and reporting structures being dovetailed into one? Discussing the recommended changes to improve the water allocation transfers and how those changes would impact industry
Understanding the concept of “protected water” Examining sector water conservation and efficiency plans. Grappling with the shift from top down government to governance by multi-stakeholders: How the governance networks emerge within the current legal system

Environmental Activism and the Effect on Project Planning & Approvals
Peter Robinson, CEO David Suzuki Foundation and Peter Miller, Senior Counsel Imperial Oil
Melanie Paradis, Manager Natural Resources & Aboriginal Affairs, National Public Relations
Energy and oil and gas development affects land, water, air and the rights of multiple stakeholders and Aboriginal communities. With the continued media focus on the environmental impact of Alberta’s oil sands and the ongoing activism surrounding the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipeline projects, the social licence to operate is becoming a primary focus for industry. Environmental activism and Aboriginal opposition, at best, delays production schedules and, at worst, derails entire projects. Gain the perspective of key stakeholders and hear what you have to do to successfully manage your projects while addressing environmental concerns. [Emphasis added]

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