Albertans and Canadians care about how oil and gas development affects the environment and their safety. Keeping people safe and protecting the environment are priorities for us too. That’s why we thoroughly assess some proposed energy projects—before any construction happens—for potential adverse environmental impacts.
In fact, we include an environmental assessment at the start of our application submission and review process —a regulatory route all companies must take before development can happen.
Why It Matters
As Alberta’s single energy regulator, we need to ensure that companies are environmentally responsible when developing oil and gas resources. It’s important that we (and companies) identify or predict the environmental, social, economic, and cultural impacts of a proposed project or activity and find ways to mitigate or reduce any adverse impacts.
How It Works
Before companies submit their energy project applications, they must send us a variety of project information for our experts to review. Depending on the details of that information, we will decide if further environmental assessment is needed. In general, we will conduct further assessment when a project poses uncertainty or risk, or is unlike other projects we have previously approved.
In some cases, we might ask the company to submit an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to us under Part 2, Division 1, of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. This report must include
- a detailed project description,
- baseline environmental information,
- the project’s potential environmental effects,
- a cumulative effects assessment that considers other development in the area and the collective impact,
- plans to mitigate potential adverse effects, and
- emergency response plans.
We use EIA reports to identify uncertainty or risk and to help determine if the project is in the public interest. With this information, our experts can apply the right amount of due diligence when they review all applications related to the development.
When an EIA report is deemed complete, the company can seek our approval of their applications.
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) was previously responsible for environmental assessments related to energy development. Learn more on AEP's website.
AEP also maintains the register of all environmental assessment activity in Alberta, including EIA reports completed for the AER. Access the register for current and historical EIA reports.
If you have questions about our environmental assessment process, please email AEREnvironmental.Assessment@aer.ca.
For general questions, please contact our Customer Contact Centre.