Bulletin 2016-02

Bulletin 2016-02: Direction for Conservation and Reclamation Submissions Under an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act Approval for Enhanced Recovery In Situ Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Processing Plants and Oil Production Sites

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Direction for Conservation and Reclamation Submissions Under an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act Approval for Enhanced Recovery In Situ Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Processing Plants and Oil Production Sites

Mar 01, 2016

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued Specified Enactment Direction 001: Direction for Conservation and Reclamation Submissions Under an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act Approval for Enhanced Recovery In Situ Oil Sands and Heavy Oil Processing Plants and Oil Production Sites (the SED).

The SED has been issued under section 137 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and schedule IX of EPEA approval terms and conditions for enhanced recovery in situ oil sands and heavy oil processing plants and oil production sites (i.e., a commercial in situ oil sands facility), as defined in the EPEA Activities Designation Regulation. The SED replaces Manual 010: Guidelines for the Submission of a Predisturbance Assessment and Conservation and Reclamation Plan (AER, October 2014) and Guidelines for Submission of an Annual Conservation and Reclamation Report, Alberta Energy Regulator (AER, March 2014).

The SED now includes direction on completion of a project-level conservation, reclamation, and closure plan (PLCRCP). Although required by in situ oil sands project EPEA approval terms and conditions, this guidance for development of the PLCRCP had previously not been documented.

Updated direction on site predisturbance assessment (PDA) and postconstruction data collection, site-specific conservation planning, and related information submissions is provided in the SED. The SED consolidates and integrates PLCRCP, PDA, site-specific conservation and construction plans, and annual conservation and reclamation reporting. Criteria for the collection, content, reporting, and submission of conservation and reclamation information to the AER will help approval holders comply with regulatory requirements associated with the terms and conditions of their commercial in situ oil sands facility EPEA approvals.

This consolidation and updating of requirements will help the AER ensure that construction practices conserve material for future reclamation and ensure that information is obtained to facilitate eventual return of the sites to equivalent land capacity. The SED addresses duplication and redundancy where information has already been provided to the AER through other regulatory processes.

Approval holders must fulfill the requirements outlined in the SED in order to demonstrate compliance with the EPEA approval terms and conditions. The AER will be reviewing the conservation and reclamation submissions and on-site field inspections to ensure that approval holders demonstrate regulatory compliance with the EPEA approval terms and conditions.

The SED is available on the AER website under Applications & Notices > Application Process > Environmental Protection & Enhancement Act > Forms & Guides > Specified Enactment Direction.

For more information, e-mail inquiries@aer.ca or call Customer Contact Centre at 1-855-297-8311.

<original signed by>

Kirk Bailey
Executive Vice President
Operations Division