October 17, 2012
Application Procedures and Requirements for Approval of Activities Located In or Near the Boundaries of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan
On September 1, 2012, the Government of Alberta adopted the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP). The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has a statutory obligation to ensure that all activities under its jurisdiction that occur within the LARP and any future regional plan boundaries comply with the requirements specified in those plans. In response to the LARP, the ERCB is undertaking measures to ensure that it meets its statutory obligation to act in compliance with regional plans issued under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA).
The purpose of this bulletin is to outline what the ERCB requires of applicants seeking approval of activities within the LARP boundaries. A map depicting the LARP geographical boundaries can be found on the Land-use Framework website (www.landuse.alberta.ca).
LARP-Related Application Requirements
Effective immediately and pending amendments to ERCB application requirements, applicants seeking approval of proposed activities that would be located within the LARP boundaries must consider and assess the following prior to filing an application with the ERCB:
i) whether the proposed activity will be located in either a designated provincial recreation area or conservation area within the LARP boundaries,
ii) whether the proposed activity is consistent with the land-use planning detailed in the LARP,
iii) whether the mineral rights are subject to cancellation pursuant to Government of Alberta Information Letter 2012-30 where the proposed activity is located within either a designated provincial recreation area or conservation area within the LARP boundaries, and
iv) where the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (or the designated minister as applicable) has determined that a regional trigger or limit established under any of the management frameworks under the LARP has been exceeded and the Government of Alberta has implemented a management response to the exceedance, how the proposed activity is consistent and complies with such management response.
Applicants are not required to submit this information to the ERCB except under the circumstances noted below. However, they are required to retain it and provide it on request by the ERCB.
Applicants that seek approval of activities within a designated provincial recreation area or conservation area, activities that are inconsistent with the land uses established in the LARP, or activities that may result in exceedance of a trigger or limit in the LARP must submit a nonroutine application accompanied with the above-noted information and sufficient supporting submissions to enable ERCB staff to assess the application in relation to the LARP. Applications can be submitted as nonroutine by responding “no” to the question of whether the ERCB’s environmental requirements have been met in the Directive 056 application form.
Where an applicant believes the proposed activity is permitted under the LARP because it is “incidental” to previously approved and existing activities, it must provide submissions to support that position. Applicants should not assume that a proposed activity is incidental to a previously approved activity or activities. Nor should applicants assume that proposed activities that were disclosed in a previously submitted application or project plan that has not received ERCB approval are permitted under the LARP and/or are exempt from the requirements outlined in this bulletin.
The ERCB may decide not to disposition an application for approval of activities that fall under the requirements of this bulletin if it is not satisfied that the proposed activities are consistent with the policy objectives set out in the LARP. The ERCB has no authority to waive compliance with or vary any restriction, limitation, or requirement regarding a land area or land use under a regional plan. Applicants that wish to seek this type of relief must apply directly to the Land Use Secretariat established under ALSA, which may, on application and by order, vary the requirements of a regional plan.
The ERCB may seek direction and advice from the Land Use Secretariat if it is uncertain as to whether a proposed activity is in compliance with the LARP, including whether a proposed activity is incidental to an existing operation or approval.
Questions regarding this bulletin may be directed to Brenda Austin via e-mail to email@example.com or by telephone at 403-297-8302.
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