Public Land Disposition Process

 

Public Land Disposition Process

Land Use Type Electronic Application Type
AER Formal Dispositions:
  • Licence of occupation (LOC)
  • Mineral surface lease (MSL)
  • Miscellaneous lease (MLL)
  • Pipeline agreement (PLA)
  • Pipeline installation lease (PIL)
  • Vegetation control easement (RVC)
Electronic Disposition System
Coal and Oil Sands Exploration Applications and submissions of annual reports
AERSurfaceActivityApplication@aer.ca
Geophysical (Mines and Minerals Act (Part 8)) Application disposition process and tracking tool

1. Access online services
Clients require a user identification number (user ID) to access online services associated with land use applications such as the Electronic Disposition System (EDS), Plan Confirmation Services (PCS), and the Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT).

Applicants who do not have a user ID and wish to obtain one can reference the Access to Industry Online Services for instructions.

2. Determining the site of your activity
All EAP applicants are required to generate a Landscape Analysis Report for proposed disposition applications. The LAT is a web-enabled geospatial tool that allows users to plan activities on public land.

Once a client correctly enters their planned activities into the LAT, the system generates a LAT report, which provides provincial and sensitivity-section approval standards and operating conditions specific to the proposed activity. The approval standards and operating conditions identified in the LAT report form a part of the disposition document, if granted, and allow a user to make informed decisions about their planned course of action. Users are required to submit a LAT report as part of a surface land application.

While not a requirement for other industrial land users - specifically coal, oil sands exploration, mines, heavy oil, and thermal in situ oil sands operations - the LAT can provide non-EAP applicants with valuable information to assist with planned activities, including site planning.

For detailed instruction on how to use the LAT tool, please refer to the Landscape Analysis Tool User Guide.

3. Complete First Nations consultation and obtain surface rights holder consent
For applications conducted in accordance with the enhanced approval process (EAP), First Nations Consultation must be completed prior to filing an interim submission. First Nations consultation procedures and forms are available for use.

EAP applicants must also obtain consent from other land users who have status as occupants on the concerned public lands. To determine if public land is occupied, contact Crown Land Searches at (780) 422-5727 or fax (780) 422-9522 and request a land standing report for the proposed project lands, or access Alberta Energy’s Electronic Transfer System (ETS).

The land standing report will provide the applicant with data showing any overlap, or double coverage, of the proposed location with existing dispositions. In situations where other land user consent is required, the necessary consent document must be attached to the online submission.

All other land use applicants (for coal and oil sands exploration; coal and oil sands mines; and heavy oil and thermal in situ oil sands) are strongly encouraged to complete First Nations consultation and obtain consent before making an application. As part of its administrative completeness requirements, the AER is considering mandating up-front completion of First Nations consultation and occupant consent requirements for all Public Lands Act dispositions prior to the filing of disposition applications.

4. Review Integrated Standards and Guidelines
The document Integrated Standards and Guidelines (IS&G) identify provincial and sensitivity-specific approval standards, operating conditions, and best practices guidelines associated with upstream oil and gas activities undertaken on Alberta’s public lands.

The IS&G also includes pre-application requirements and important information that must be reviewed and understood by applicants prior to their making an application.

Although the IS&G applies specifically to applications under the EAP, all applicants should be aware of and review the IS&G as it provides the most current direction for operating on public land in Alberta.

5. Meet requirements of any reservations, notations, and integrated resource plans linked to the proposed location
Applicants must ensure that the requirements identified in any reservations, notations, and integrated resource plans (IRP) associated with their proposed site are met before they apply for a disposition. For clients using the EAP, reservation, notation, and IRP information and requirements are referenced in the IS&G and must be clearly identified on the EAP supplement.

Clients using an environmental field report (EFR) to apply for a surface disposition (i.e., coal and oil sands exploration; coal and oil sands mines; and heavy oil and thermal in situ oil sands) will also need to confirm whether or not reservations or notations were reviewed and addressed as part of the application process.

6. Prepare Environmental Field Report
Applications for dispositions that are not captured under the EAP require the completion and submission of an EFR with their application.

Clients should refer to the instructions for submission of an EFR with surface disposition applications under the Public Lands on the Guides for Forms Completion webpage.

Submit EFR applications with 2.0 Cover Document and the appropriate supplements. Some activity types could require more than one supplement. Questions about the content of the EFR are to be directed to the local field centre.

Incomplete or incorrectly filled out EFRs could be rejected by the AER and could result in delays in the processing of an application.

7. Make an application submission
Applicants who use the Electronic Disposition System (EDS) will automatically have access to EAP online services such as the Plan Confirmation Services (PCS), and the Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT). Non-EDS users will need to get a user ID prior to being access these online services (see step 1).

Any required surveys, sketches, GPS locations, and other plans prepared for submission with applications will need to also meet the standards.

Applicants need to ensure that all required information is uploaded correctly through EDS.

Please note, personal information on AER forms is collected under the authority of subsections 33(a) and (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information is used by the Alberta Energy Regulator to administer the Responsible Energy Development Act, the specified enactments as defined in that act, and the regulations and rules under those acts. All information contained on these forms (including personal information) may become part of the public record and may be disclosed by the Alberta Energy Regulator in accordance with its normal information dissemination practices or as required by law. For further information about the collection of this information, please contact the customer contact centre at inquiries@aer.ca, 403-297-8311, or 1-855-297-8311 (toll free).

8. Application processing and approval
Applications filed through the EAP will go through an electronic validation process, technical and administrative reviews, as well as a review of mitigation strategies (for nonstandard applications). Successful applicants will be issued a disposition with a four-year term in accordance with associated terms and conditions.

Nonstandard EAP application submissions will be forwarded to the appropriate AER field centre for review. Reviews will be conducted for all nonstandard submissions - those that are noncompliant with specified approval standards - in order to accept, reject, or negotiate alternate mitigation strategies identified in the Nonstandard Mitigation Supplement.

For EFR applications, which may be major projects including coal and oil sands mines and heavy oil and in situ oil sands projects, the EDS will confirm the receipt of an application directly with the applicant. The application will then be:

  1. Reviewed to ensure the sketch/survey plan meets standards and administrative completeness requirements,
  2. Reviewed for completeness, land use conflicts, and accuracy of information,
  3. Reviewed by the appropriate field centre for the technical review of the application
  4. Checked against any submitted Statements of Concern.

Part of the review of an application for a coal or oil sands mine, or a heavy oil/ in-situ project, will also include the consideration and confirmation of other related regulatory requirements (e.g., approvals under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act). If and when a decision is made to issue a disposition, appropriate conditions will be placed on the development of the activity. If the application is refused, an applicant will be notified and provided with the rationale for the decision. An appeal process is available to eligible persons ie. applicants, disposition holders, statement of concern filers who are directly and adversely affected by the decision.

All inquiries, clarification, or correspondence related to major project applications submitted to the AER under the Public Lands Act should be submitted by e-mail to aersurfaceactivityapplication@aer.ca.

Please use the Electronic Disposition System status portal for application status inquiries.

9. Site Entry and Cancellation of Disposition
For applicants using the EAP, the four-year term of EAP dispositions provides adequate time for site preparation, construction, and final plan submission. Please note the following;

  • Notice of entry must be provided online via the EDS within 72 hours of site entry. Site entry notification is not required for surveying purposes.
  • For EFR dispositions, site entry notification is required as per the condition identified in the letter of authority. Any questions on this process should be directed to the local AER field centre.
  • If a site is never entered, the EAP short-term disposition expires after four years and disposition holders must then follow the no-entry application process. If a site is entered and is later deemed as not required by the applicant, reclamation of the site is required. Cancellation of the short-term disposition can be requested anytime by the disposition holder via the no-entry application process provided entry has not occurred.
  • The no-entry process can also be used for coal and oil sands mines and for heavy oil and in situ oil sands projects.

For the related information letter Upstream Oil and Gas Cancellation of Undisturbed Sites on Public Land, please see the webpage titled Lands Information Letters.

10. Changes to a Disposition
For EAP dispositions, minor changes can be accommodated through a temporary field authorization (TFA), but only as outlined in the Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR) Operational Approvals and Authorizations Manual (formerly called the TFA Manual). If the manual does not allow for the changes required by clients, the disposition must be cancelled and a new EAP disposition application made.

For EFR dispositions, the Amendment Application for Surface Disposition form must be used to request an EFR amendment.

The completed amendment application form, the environmental field report, and other amendment application material must be e-mailed to aersurfaceactivityapplication@aer.ca. The digital plan must be submitted via the EDS.

There are instances when a disposition holder can request a change to a disposition. In the event of unforeseen circumstances in the field, disposition holders can request a temporary field authorization (TFA) from AER field centres.

TFAs are short-term authorizations issued to facilitate previously unforeseen needs for necessary construction and development activities associated with a disposition. The TFA guidelines advise prospective applicants about the TFA process.

Clients who need to undertake an assignment of an AER disposition are to continue to utilize Alberta Energy’s Electronic Transfer System (ETS).

Clients wishing to assign MLL dispositions are to e-mail their assignment application to aersurfaceactivityapplication@aer.ca.

11. Long term dispositions

Content from AEP is available on how to access and use the Electronic Disposition System.

Clients need to ensure that once dispositions are issued any operating conditions that require the submission of reporting information or other requirements are provided to AER as outlined within their terms and conditions.

Please note, personal information on AER forms is collected under the authority of subsections 33(a) and (c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The information is used by the Alberta Energy Regulator to administer the Responsible Energy Development Act, the specified enactments as defined in that act, and the regulations and rules under those acts. All information contained on these forms (including personal information) may become part of the public record and may be disclosed by the Alberta Energy Regulator in accordance with its normal information dissemination practices or as required by law. For further information about the collection of this information, please contact the customer contact centre at inquiries@aer.ca, 403-297-8311, or 1-855-297-8311 (toll free).