AER Bulletin 2014-08

AER Bulletin 2014-08: AER Implementation Phase 3

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AER Implementation Phase 3

Mar 11, 2014

Industry is advised of the following changes that will occur as the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) implements the final sections of the Responsible Energy Development Act (REDA) on March 29, 2014.

 

1 Legislation, Regulations, and Rules
Regulations and rules have been developed and passed by the Government of Alberta and the AER to further clarify the legal framework supporting the transfer of certain regulatory responsibilities under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and the Water Act to the AER. These include the Specified Enactments (Jurisdiction) Regulation and the Alberta Energy Regulator Rules of Practice. See more at http://www.aer.ca/rules-and-regulations/acts-and-rules.

 

2 Sections 31, 32, and 33 of REDA
Currently, the AER posts public notices of application for proposed energy development activities and publishes decisions relating to those applications. These publications can be found through the Systems & Tools portal at www.aer.ca.

Starting March 29, 2014, the AER will be accepting energy-related applications under EPEA, including reclamation and remediation certificate applications, and the Water Act. At that time, the Public Notice of Application and Publication of Decision tools will be expanded to include these application types.

Anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by these application types, or by any application submitted to the AER, may file a statement of concern with the regulator in accordance with the timelines set out in the Public Notice of Application.

 

3 Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA)
Starting March 29, 2014, the AER will be accepting energy-related EPEA applications. All application fees will be set to zero and PDF-formatted submissions will be required. Public notice of applications and decisions issued under EPEA will also be posted on the AER website.

The AER is striving for a seamless transition of the review and processing of approvals. To ensure timely processing of applications, applicants must ensure that all submissions are accurately completed or approval will be delayed. Incomplete applications may be returned.

Applications that were submitted to ESRD and not concluded before March 28, 2014, will be transferred to and completed by the AER.
New contact information for applications will be posted to the AER website on March 29, 2014. The AER will coordinate systems support matters directly with ESRD to ensure that applicant issues are addressed promptly and effectively.

The templates used to apply for applications have been rebranded and updated to reflect use by both energy industry and other clients. These templates will be available through the AER website on March 29. Applications prepared using existing guidelines and templates are still acceptable. Authorizations issued by the AER will have the AER’s logo and contact information.

Applications and report submission mailboxes with descriptions will be found on the AER website on March 29.

 

4 Water Act
Starting March 29, 2014, the AER will be accepting energy-related Water Act applications, and PDF-formatted submissions will be required. No paper submissions will be accepted. Public notice of applications received and decisions issued under the Water Act will also be posted on the AER website.

The AER is striving for a seamless transition of the review and processing of approvals. To ensure timely processing of applications, applicants must ensure that all submissions are accurately completed or approval will be delayed.

Applications that were submitted to ESRD and not concluded before March 28, 2014, will be transferred to and completed by the AER.

The Water Act Temporary Diversion Licence Electronic Review System (WATERS) will be used for temporary diversion licence applications. Applicants should contact the AER Customer Contact Centre for systems-related questions. New contact information for applications will be posted to the AER website March 29. The AER will coordinate systems support matters directly with ESRD to ensure that applicant issues are addressed promptly and effectively.

The templates used to apply for authorizations have been changed to reflect use by both energy industry and other clients. Applications prepared using existing guidelines and templates are still acceptable as industry transitions to the new templates. These templates will be available through the AER website on March 29. Authorizations issued by the AER will have the AER’s logo and contact information.

 

5 Reclamation/Remediation
Starting March 29, 2014, the AER will be accepting energy-related reclamation and remediation certificate applications under EPEA. ESRD policies remain in effect and the application process is unchanged. All application fees will be set to zero. Public notice of applications received and decisions issued with respect to reclamation and remediation will also be posted on the AER website.

The AER is striving for a seamless transition of the review and processing of reclamation and remediation certificate applications. To ensure timely processing of applications, applicants must ensure that all submissions are accurately completed or a decision on the application and the issuance of an authorization will be delayed.

Applications that were submitted to ESRD and not concluded before March 28, 2014, will be transferred to and completed by the AER.

The Electronic Disposition System (EDS) will be used by the AER for reclamation certificate applications on public land. On private land, a new e-mail address will be provided on March 29 for application submission. Applicants should contact the AER Customer Contact Centre for systems-related questions.

For information on applications, please contact the AER via the new contact information that will be posted on the AER’s website. The AER will coordinate systems support matters directly with ESRD to ensure that applicant issues are addressed promptly and effectively.

The forms used to apply for reclamation and remediation certificates have a new logo and contact information. These forms will be available through the AER website.

 

6 Mine Financial Security Program
While ESRD retains control of program changes, the AER administer it. The AER will review and approve annual submissions, collect security, and conduct audits. The AER will work with ESRD on program review and updates. Program information will be posted on the AER website.

 

7 Information Systems that will be Used by the AER in Connection with Phase 3
In order to support AER regulation of EPEA and Water Act matters, the AER has arranged continued use of information systems developed by ESRD. These information systems have been modified to segregate energy resource transactions that will become the responsibility of the AER (e.g., applications processing) from those that will remain the responsibility of ESRD. The system modification impacts will be minimal to end users and will continue to function in the same manner as prior to proclamation, with the exception that these systems will now also be accessible from the AER Systems & Tools portal.

The AER Systems & Tools portal was deployed in June 2013, enabling industry to access former ESRD systems and to provide improved public access to information such as acts, regulations, reports, and news releases. With the transfer of responsibilities under parts of EPEA and the Water Act to the AER, the Systems & Tools portal will enable industry to access and submit information to systems used for EPEA and Water Act authorizations and reporting. Table 1 below outlines these systems.

Table 1. List of systems added to the AER Systems & Tools portal. 

System Description Classification
Authorization Viewer An existing public website listing all EPEA and Water Act approvals, licences, and code registrations. Inquiry tool
Water Act Temporary Diversion License Electronic Review System (WATERS) An online tool to make an application for a temporary diversion licence (TDL) under the Water Act.
Before diverting and using surface water and groundwater in Alberta, a licence must be obtained. A TDL provides authority for this diversion for a maximum of one year.
Once enrolled (with a Government of Alberta account and ID), a TDL applicant can submit an application and any supporting documentation as well as retrieve historical TDL information.
Application
Water Usage Reporting System (WURS) Water Usage Reporting System (WURS) An online tool to report actual water usage for surface and ground water source with respect to Water for Life: Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability. In addition, WURS also collects information on water levels and quality indicators for ground water.
The system provides access to users with a Government of Alberta account and ID.
Application

 

8 IT Issues Stakeholders May Need to Address
Certain changes implemented to enable the AER’s use of ESRD systems may impact users depending on their e-mail and network security settings.

Systems used for EPEA and Water Act regulation are configured to issue e-mail communications, and these systems-generated communications will continue. The systems will issue e-mail from a gov.ab.ca address; however, the return address will be set to the AER (aer.ca). This difference in sending and return address may result in security systems identifying the e-mail as spam, meaning that users may not receive notices and approvals they are expecting. The AER recommends that security systems settings be reviewed and that users ensure that e-mail filter whitelists include both the gov.ab.ca and aer.ca domains.

 

9 Systems Outage Information
In order to implement the systems changes that support transition of EPEA and Water Act responsibilities to the AER, certain ESRD systems will be unavailable starting March 26, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. until March 27, 2014, at 4:30 p.m. During this outage, industry will not be able to submit applications under EPEA or the Water Act. All other AER systems will remain operational.

The AER will assume its EPEA and Water Act responsibilities on March 29, 2014. Work is already underway to ensure that any applications in progress are either completed by ESRD prior to March 29, 2014, or are transferred to the AER for processing in an orderly manner. This effort is being directed at ensuring continuity and timely processing of pending applications so that the transition is as seamless as possible for applicants.

Systems currently operated by the AER will not be affected by the outage.

 

10 Complaints, Incidents, and Emergency Response
The AER will continue to maintain complaint, incident, and emergency response as a top priority. EPEA requires industry to report any releases of a substance that may have an adverse effect. The Energy and Environment 24-hour Response Line at 1-800-222-6514 is the central point of contact for these types of calls. A compliance officer will forward the pertinent information to the AER who will conduct a response based on the risk and potential impacts.

 

11 Industry Reporting
Many approvals contain a condition that requires industry to report any noncompliance with the terms and conditions of their approvals. In order to ensure a consistent approach to this requirement, the AER will use the current industry reporting line at 780-422-4505. A compliance officer will forward reported information to the AER for review and response if necessary.

 

12 Information Management
All requests for information associated with the functions transitioning to the AER will be coordinated and processed through the AER Information Distribution Services Group. To submit a request for information, please follow the existing process outlined at http://www.aer.ca/data-and-publications/how-to-order.

 

13 Inquiries and Systems Support Single Point of Contact
The AER Customer Contact Centre (CCC) will continue to be the central point of contact for all AER inquiries. The CCC has the capability to engage the appropriate subject matter experts when necessary to ensure a timely and knowledgeable response. The CCC will coordinate systems support matters to ensure that applicant issues are addressed promptly and effectively. To contact the CCC, phone 1-855-297-8311, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 

14 Industry Information Sessions
Industry information sessions are being held in Calgary on March 19, 20, and 21. These sessions will be free but require preregistration and will include presentations on the powers, duties, and functions under EPEA and the Water Act being transferred to the AER. This phase represents the final step in creating a single regulator for upstream oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal development in Alberta.

Registration for all sessions can be found on www.aer.ca.

 

15 Transition Management
The AER is committed to ensuring a smooth transition during the transfer of new regulatory functions from ESRD. If delays are experienced during the processing and dispositioning of EPEA and Water Act applications, the AER will implement contingency plans to reduce the impact of any delays and to ensure that priority submissions are immediately addressed.

 <original signed by>

 Jim Ellis
President and CEO