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Updated May 2019

This EnerFAQs is intended to help you understand what statements of concern are and how to file one with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) if you have a concern with an energy resource development application. It also answers questions we commonly hear and outlines what you must include in a statement of concern in order for it to be registered.

Questions:


What is a statement of concern?
Albertans concerned about a particular application may submit a statement of concern, which is a written submission that outlines specific concerns about an application. A statement of concern may be filed by anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by an application. Upon proclamation of the Responsible Energy Development Act, statements of concern replaced objections as the way to file your concerns about energy project applications.

What is the difference between a statement of concern and an operational complaint?
Statements of concern outline concerns about applications for proposed energy resource activities and developments, as well as any amendments to them. Operational complaints outline concerns about the operations of existing energy resource activities (e.g., noise, smells, etc.). An operational complaint can be made at any time during the life of a project. A statement of concern can only be made in response to a notice of application. If the AER determines that your correspondence is an operational complaint, it will be referred to the applicable field centre for follow up. If you have an operational complaint, please direct it to the nearest AER field centre.

Who can file a statement of concern?
Anyone who believes they may be directly and adversely affected by an energy resource application can file a statement of concern.

How do I find out about energy resource development applications?
For most applications, public notice is generated automatically and found on our Public Notice of Application page on www.aer.ca. For a small number of applications, a notice is manually prepared; these are available on the Notices page on our website.

Before we accept an application for an energy resource activity, and depending on the activity proposed, we may require a company to provide notification of and information about the proposed activities directly to certain people, making sure that those receiving the information can fully understand what is being proposed and what the potential impacts could be. 

Details of who a company must contact before it applies for an energy resource activity or development vary according to the type of application. Notification requirements may include input from landowners, First Nations and Métis, occupants, other oil and gas operators, or local authorities. In cases where notification is required, the company must provide details about how and why it chose its proposed locations for any wells, pipelines, facilities, or access roads and what to expect in terms of equipment use and operations during the production phase.

How can I register a statement of concern?
We will only register a statement of concern if it contains the information outlined below. Phone calls are not registered as statements of concern. You may outline your concerns using the statement of concern form on the AER website (www.aer.ca).

What information must be included in a statement of concern?
To be registered, the statement of concern form must include

  • the application number for the proposed project,
  • how you may be directly and adversely affected,
  • the nature of your objection to the application,
  • the outcome you want to see,
  •  the location of your land or residence,
  • the location of the proposed project, and
  • your contact information (i.e., your name, address, phone number, and email address or fax number).

When should I submit my statement of concern?
Be sure to submit your statement of concerns form within the statement of concerns filing deadline. Applications have different statement of concern submission deadlines, depending on many factors including the type of application and how the AER categorizes it. There are two broad category types:

  • Expedited: these applications do not have a set deadline to submit a statement of concern. The AER can make a decision at any point after an expedited application is submitted. A statement of concern needs to be submitted as soon as possible on expedited applications in order to be considered before the AER makes a decision on it.
     
    These application types are outlined in section 5.2.2 of the AER Rules of Practice. Examples include routine Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules applications and Water Act temporary diversion licences.
     
  • Non-expedited: these applications have a specific deadline for filing a statement of concern. The filing deadline is stated on the public notice of application. Non-expedited applications fall outside of all the listings in section 5.2.2 of the AER Rules of Practice.

What information should not be included in a statement of concern?
Our application process is public. The AER Rules of Practice require us to place all information filed about an application on the public record, including statements of concern. You should assume that any information you submit will be publicly available and therefore should avoid including anything you do not want shared publicly. This includes personal, medical, financial, or other confidential information, such as

  • information related to a medical, psychiatric, or psychological history or a condition or illness, including the diagnosis, treatment, or evaluation of one; 
  • financial information, including 
    • rent payments; 
    • details about settlement negotiations or offers; 
    • information affecting income or income assistance eligibility, such as tax returns and bank account or credit card information; and 
    • any information shared during confidential negotiations or discussions (e.g., the AER’s alternative dispute resolution program); 
  • information about employment or educational history; and 
  • statements of opinion made by another person or your opinion about another person.

Where do I send my statement of concern?
You must send your statement of concern to the company making the application as well as to the AER. We may require the applicant to respond to your concerns. 

All statements of concern should be sent to

Alberta Energy Regulator
Statement of Concern Team
Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R4
Fax: 403-297-7336
Email: SOC@aer.ca

What happens to my statement of concern once I have submitted it?
Once we receive your statement of concern form, we will review it to ensure that we have enough information to register it in our system. If we have questions or need more information, we will contact you.

We do not register statements of concern for matters that are outside of the AER’s jurisdiction (e.g. surface material lease, compensation). If your statement of concern falls outside our jurisdiction we will send you a letter indicating this and try to direct you to the appropriate regulatory agency. When we register your statement of concern you will receive a letter from us with a registration number.

We may request a written response from the company about your concerns; we will also consider this response as we review the energy development application. In some cases, we may recommend holding a hearing to address your concerns.

Once your statement of concern is registered, you will receive a decision either 60 business days from receipt of your statement of concern or the application processing time, whichever is longer.

The AER will provide the Aboriginal Consultation Office with a copy of statement of concerns received from a First Nation, Métis Settlement, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis local, other indigenous groups or individuals who identify themselves as representing one of these organizations.

Phases of a Statement of Concern:

Phase 1: Intake 

  • We receive the statement of concern form 
  • We determine if the statement of concern meets the requirements outlined in the AER Rules of Practice in the Responsible Energy Development Act

Phase 2: Registration 

  • We enter statement of concern into AER systems
  • We send notification of statement of concern registration to all involved parties

Phase 3: Review  

  • We review all applicable information
  • We consider concerns raised in relation to the application(s)
  • We create a recommendation for consideration by AER statutory decision maker 

Phase 4: Decision 

  • A statutory decision maker considers all applicable information and the recommendation 
  • A statutory decision maker makes a decision on the statement of concern in relation to the application(s)

Phase 5: Close 

  • We notify all parties of the AER’s decision
  • We post the notice of decision to www.aer.ca

At any point in the process, consider using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which provides concerned parties a variety of options to manage disputes including direct negotiation between the parties, AER staff-led mediation, and third-party mediation.

What if my statement of concern is related to an application about which a decision has already been made?
If you have concerns after we have approved an application, you may be able to request a regulatory appeal under section 38 of the Responsible Energy Development Act. Learn more about our regulatory appeal process and who can request to appeal. 

How do I find the decision on my statement of concern?
We will send our final decision to you and the applicant. We will also share our decision publicly on our website (www.aer.ca) on the following pages:

  • Publication of Decision – Project application decisions are posted on this web page.
  • Participatory and Procedural Decisions – Statement of concern dispositions are posted on this web page.
  • Hearing Decisions – Hearing decisions are posted on this web page.

What if I have concerns with a proposed development that has not yet been filed with the AER?  
The AER does not accept statements of concern before an application is submitted. Our preapplication concern fact sheet will help you understand what to do if you have concerns about a proposed energy development that is not yet under review by the AER. The fact sheet can be viewed and downloaded on our website (www.aer.ca). 

The AER does not consider pre-application concerns when making decisions on applications. If you continue to have concerns after an application has been submitted to the AER, you may submit a statement of concern form.

What if I no longer have concerns?
If you have a registered statement of concern and no longer have concerns, you may withdraw your statement of concern by sending an email to SOC@aer.ca with the following information:

  • the application number,
  • the statement of concern registration number, and
  • a simple statement that indicates you no longer have concerns.

Withdrawals must be unconditional to be accepted.

Where can I find more information?
For more information on the hearing and ADR processes and participant funding, see the following publications on our website at www.aer.ca: 

•    Manual 003: The Hearing Process for the Alberta Energy Regulator 
•    Manual 004: Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and Guidelines for Energy Industry Disputes
•    Directive 031: REDA Energy Cost Claims 

Related information and AER publications include:

Additional Information
For more information on the AER and its processes or if you wish to speak with your local field centre or have general questions about energy project in the province of Alberta, contact our Customer Contact Centre, Monday to Friday (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at 1-855-297-8311 (toll free).

This document is part of the EnerFAQs series, which explains the AER’s regulations and processes as they relate to specific energy issues. Please visit www.aer.ca to read more of the EnerFAQs series.

To learn more about the AER’s role in energy development, watch our Conversations that Matter video series on YouTube or on www.aer.ca. The videos use plain language and animation to transform technical information and present it in a way that is easy to understand.

Every year we collect, compile, and publish a large amount of technical and regulatory information and data about Alberta’s energy development and resources for use by both industry and the general public. This includes raw data, statistics, application and hearing materials, and information on regulations, policies, and decisions.

Information and data may be downloaded from www.aer.ca or obtained from the AER’s Information Distribution Services (IDS). Find available AER data, reports, and services through the Products and Services Catalogue.

To place an order for information, please email InformationRequest@aer.ca or phone (403-297-8311).