Reclamation

Reclamation

Reclamation of Specified Land
Reclamation certificates are required for all specified land as directed by the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA).

Specified Lands Regulated by the AER include;

  • Upstream Oil and Gas activities
  • Coal Mines
  • Oil Sands/Oil Sands Exploration

Reclamation Application Process and Forms for Specified Land
To review the application process and forms for upstream oil and gas reclamation, refer to the 2010 Reclamation Criteria Application Guidelines

Request for No Entry Cancellation
If no entry has occurred on upstream oil and gas activity, the Request for No Entry Cancellation Form can be completed. More information on this form can be found within the Upstream Oil and Gas Cancellation of Undisturbed Sites on Public Land information letter.

Online Submissions of Reclamation Certificate Applications
Applications regarding public land can be submitted online using the Electronic Disposition System (account log-in and password required).

Applications for private land can be submitted to RecRemCertApplications@aer.ca.

Public notice of application will be provided in accordance with REDA. People who believe they may be directly and adversely affected may file a statement of concern with the AER within the time periods specified in the public notice.

If a decision is made on a reclamation certificate application a notice of that decision will be provided and one may be able to file a request for regulatory appeal with the AER.

Some activities require approval under EPEA; approvals are required for the following:

  • Coal mines
  • Coal processing plants
  • Oil sands mines
  • Oil production sites where an environmental impact assessment was required
  • Pipelines [with an index of 2690-plus (some pipelines are exempt)]

These activities may also require that a security deposit be paid against reclamation and conservation obligations.

The Code of Practice for Exploration Operations has been developed to replace previous approval requirements.

Operators affected by any code must meet all its requirements to ensure that their activities are in compliance with Alberta's environmental laws.

Well site reclamation certificate application process
Upstream oil and gas operators applying for a reclamation certificate must submit a completed Well site Reclamation Certificate Application Form.

To assist with completing the application, we are making available the documents AER staff use when reviewing them. The following are for information only and should not be filled out or submitted:

Application Process for Overlapping Exemptions and Liability Reduction for Multi-well Facilities
The AER requires that anyone applying for an overlapping exemption submit a complete Application for Exemption from Requirement to Obtain a Reclamation Certificate Due to Presence of an Overlapping Activity form. For full details on the overlapping exemption policy and what is required in an application, see the Guide to Certification for Site Reductions, Additions, Overlaps, Multi-Well Facilities, and Forced Lease Boundary Changes, page 4. The guide also includes a section on applying for liability reduction on a multiwell facility when one wellbore is abandoned by using the AER’s Digital Data Submission system. This guide replaces R&R/12-2 Guide to Certification for Wellsite Reductions, Additions, Overlaps, Multi-Well Facilities, and Forced Lease Boundary Changes .

Send applications for an overlapping exemption as follows:

Well sites and Associated Facilities
The AER follows the standards set out in the 2010 Reclamation Criteria for Well sites and Associated Facilities. The criteria are divided into separate documents for three land uses: cultivated lands, forested lands, and native grasslands. The criteria provide a flexible approach that reduces assessment requirements for simple sites while recommending a greater level of effort for more complex or difficult sites. The 2010 criteria places greater emphasis on assessing crop productivity on cultivated land and re-establishing forest and native grassland ecosystems on forest and grassland sites.

Coal and Oil Sands Exploration Reclamation Requirements – December 2015

This Coal and Oils Sands Exploration Reclamation Requirements directive from Alberta Environment and Parks provides the coal exploration program (CEP) and oil sands exploration (OSE), with requirements for reclamation certification. It replaces the Directive SD 2010-01 Coal and Oil Sands Exploration Reclamation Requirements.

Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated facilities for Peatlands – October 2015

Alberta Environment and Parks has released the new Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated facilities for Peatlands – October 2015. All reclamation certificate applications for sites reclaimed to Peatlands, both padded and minimal disturbance sites must follow this criteria after April 1, 2016.

2010 Reclamation Criteria
Numerous supplementary documents exist to help explain the 2010 Reclamation Criteria for Well sites and Associated Facilities form and the application guidelines.

Security for Land Reclamation Performance
Reclamation security is required under Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and the Conservation and Reclamation Regulation.

Security funds are collected from operators who hold an EPEA approval pursuant to the Activities Designation Regulation unless exempted in the Conservation and Reclamation Regulation.

For a new approval, the security must be provided before the approval is issued. For an approval amendment or a change to the amount of security required, security must be provided within 30 days of a request by the director.

The amount of security must cover the cost of reclamation in case the operator is unable to complete reclamation on the site. Security can be submitted in cash, bonds, or letters of credit. Interest on security submitted as cash is paid to the operator.

Security is returned to the operator when the site is reclaimed and a reclamation certificate is issued. Part of the security may be returned when part of the site is reclaimed and the remaining security is sufficient to complete the outstanding reclamation.

Security may be forfeited if an operator fails to meet reclamation obligations; in which case the funds are used by the AER to reclaim the site. If these funds are insufficient to cover the cost of reclamation, the AER can complete the reclamation work and collect the additional money from the operator.

Inspections and Compliance
AER inspectors in field centres throughout the province are responsible for ensuring the compliance of energy operators with the legislation and other requirements. Inspectors work closely with landowners and industry to resolve concerns.

AER inspectors and assessors are responsible for responding to public complaints; inspecting sites during construction, operation, and reclamation phases; and reviewing reclamation certificate applications.

Reclamation compliance
Where the AER identifies that an operator is not conserving or reclaiming a site according to the requirements of EPEA, compliance or enforcement actions may be taken, with the assistance of the AER’s Environment and Operational Performance Branch.