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The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is seeking public feedback on its draft directive on fluid tailings management for oil sands mining projects.
As the province’s energy regulator, the AER ensures that oil sands development aligns with government policy. Following the release of the Lower Athabasca Region: Tailings Management Framework for Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands (TMF), the AER has developed new requirements for tailings management.
The draft directive establishes the requirements operators must meet, including application requirements, the review and approval process, and performance reporting for fluid tailings volume profiles and tailings management plans as part of a phased approach to implementing the TMF. More details regarding surveillance requirements and enforcement measures will be included in the 2016 edition of the directive.
The AER will set project-specific thresholds based on information submitted in the tailings management applications. Operators must report their fluid tailings volumes annually. The AER will take appropriate compliance and enforcement action if operators are exceeding thresholds.
The AER is engaging with oil sands operators, aboriginal groups, environmental nongovernmental organizations, affected municipalities, and multistakeholder community groups as it seeks feedback on the draft directive.
Once finalized, the draft directive would rescind Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes. The draft directive can be found at aer.ca. Feedback will be accepted until November 17, 2015.
All feedback received will be reviewed for the purposes noted in the bulletin and a summary of stakeholder feedback will be posted on the AER’s website. All of the comments provided through this consultation will form part of the public record and, at the discretion of the AER, any comment received may also be attributed to the specific individuals providing it. Personal information provided with comments will be collected, used, and disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
The AER may use the personal contact information you provide for follow-up communication related to your feedback. Paper copies of the draft directive are available from AER Order Fulfillment, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW; telephone: 403-297-8311; fax: 403-297-7040; e-mail InformationRequest@aer.ca.
Stakeholders may also provide comment at talk.aer.ca.
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Executive Vice President
Strategy and Regulatory Division