Some activities on public lands are of particular concern to the regulator as they involve heavier uses of resources, the development of which may result in a larger environmental footprint. Major projects, such as coal mines, oil sands mines, and heavy oil and in-situ oil sand projects are all classified as major industrial activities. For these development activities to be conducted on public land, they first require a coordinated review through an environmental impact assessment process conducted by AEP in cooperation with the AER.
Coal and oil sands exploration activities are regulated by the Public Lands Act and are approved under the disposition codes CEP (coal exploration program) and OSE (oil sand exploration). These activities are subject to the Code of Practice for Exploration Operations established under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and associated regulations. Access the Acts & Regulations webpage for a list of our regulatory documents.
Coal and oil sands mines also fall under the Public Lands Act. Several types of authorizations and dispositions govern the approval of these projects, including a disposition for mine and related infrastructure sites (disposition code MSL [mineral surface lease]). These developments may be subject to review through the environmental impact assessment process coordinated by AEP.
Heavy oil and in situ oil sand projects fall under the Public Lands Act. In general, several types of authorizations and dispositions govern the approval of these projects, including mineral surface lease (MSL) dispositions for the central processing facility and related site infrastructure; and pipeline agreement (PLA) and pipeline installation lease (PIL) dispositions for the related pipeline infrastructure. These projects may be subject to review through the environmental impact assessment process coordinated by AEP. Plant sites, if separate from other operations, may be issued under miscellaneous lease (MLL) dispositions.