Alberta is embarking on a bold vision to regulate our energy resources in a new and innovative way. Through Bill 2, the Responsible Energy Development Act, which was tabled October 24, 2012, the province is creating a single regulator for all oil, gas, oil sands and coal projects in the province.
This new regulator, the Alberta Energy Regulator, will be responsible for all projects from application to reclamation. It will bring together the regulatory functions from the Energy Resources Conservation Board and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development into a one-stop shop. Project proponents, landowners, industry and Albertans will know where to go when they have a question about energy regulations in this province.
The new regulator is expected to be in operation by June 2013.
Enhancing Assurance, Final Report
Report and Recommendations of the Regulatory Enhancement Task Force to the Minister of Energy
Enhancing Assurance envisions a renewed Policy Development and Policy Assurance System for our province, and sets out an enhanced approach to the way government develops and assures policies around upstream oil and gas. The enhanced system will encourage innovation, have clear and predictable processes, enhance our province’s competitiveness and, most importantly, achieve the results Albertans want.
The benefits Albertans derive from our province’s oil and gas resources flow through countless aspects our society: employment and income, health care, education, technology, infrastructure, community organizations and more. They wish to realize the full benefits of our province’s oil and gas resources, without compromising health, safety and environmental management.
Albertans place high expectations on industry and on the Government of Alberta in regards to upstream oil and gas development. They expect development to occur in ways that minimize impacts on the environment, protect public safety and conserve the resource base.
Moreover, Albertans expect companies to continuously improve their environmental performance, as a way of doing business, through greater innovation and the use of best practices. Industry must also guard against risks in the way they work and, in the event something goes wrong, take responsibility and make it right again.
The enhanced system proposed in this report will help ensure industry and the Government of Alberta meet these expectations, while keeping our province competitive.
This is not about cutting corners. It is about cutting clutter so that the Government of Alberta delivers assurance for Albertans more efficiently and effectively, and with greater transparency and accountability. High environmental standards will be maintained and Albertan’s ability to participate in the regulatory process will be preserved.
The recommendations in this report reflect input gathered through a broad engagement process. This went well beyond industry. It included environmental organizations, landowners, municipalities and First Nations.
Collectively, they helped identify opportunities for the Government of Alberta to step up its game: to enhance policy integration, to improve regulatory processes, to enable and encourage more innovation, and to better engage the public in developing policy.
Most of all, they called for a system that will maintain and build public trust and confidence in how upstream oil and gas development occurs in our province.
Enhanced Assurance lays out a path towards that system.