Clean energy is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Overcoming the obstacles will require efforts from all of us around the world. We’ll have to change the way we think about and use energy, alter our consumption patterns, and consider our responsibilities in a global context.
Development RegulationsAlberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) ensures appropriate precautions are taken to develop oil sands resources in the interests of all Albertans. This happens through regulation, reviewing applications, managing conditions and approvals, surveillance, and enforcement.
ERCB oil sands requirements, which industry must abide by, exist to maintain public safety during mining and extraction, in situ injection and production, and upgrading.
The Alberta government is implementing a Land-use Framework in response to pressure on land and natural resources. The framework is a new approach to manage natural resources and public and private lands to achieve Alberta’s long-term economic, environmental and social goals.
The framework identifies seven planning regions, including the Lower Athabasca Region, where most of the oil sands are located. The Lower Athabasca Regional plan will provide blueprints for land management to address growth pressures, including development of the oil sands. It will aim to strike a new balance between development and conservation in the region.
The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute data and reports help establish biodiversity outcomes for regional plans under the framework. Land-use planning and management success can then be evaluated against these biodiversity outcomes. An institute core report on birds and vascular plants in the Lower Athabasca shows a species intactness of 94% and a human footprint index of 7%. Future reports will provide information in trends in biodiversity as the growth and development proceed.
Oil Sands Development
Private company purchases mineral rights for a specific area.
The company applies for development to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, which regulates safe, responsible, and efficient development of Alberta's energy resources.
A public hearing may be held.
Environmental Impact Assessment, water use request and socio-economic impact study submitted to the Alberta government.
If approved, development proceeds based on terms set out in the project approval.
Annual reporting and 10-year renewal required.
Drafting the plan: next steps
Sustainable Resource Development Minister Mel Knight discusses the next steps involved in drafting a regional land-use plan for northeastern Alberta (audio). Listen.