Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and Water Act (WA) requiring environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports might include
- EPEA approval – new – EIA
- EPEA approval – amendment – EIA
- WA approvals – new – EIA
- WA licences – new – EIA
The EIA process is used for larger projects that might have significant impacts on the environment and also on socio-economic issues. The EIA process is governed under EPEA’s Environmental Assessment Regulation (Alberta Regulation 112/1993) and Environmental Assessment (Mandatory and Exempted Activities) Regulation (Alberta Regulation 111/1993); however, the various energy and specified enactments have a strong tie into the process.
The EIA process is administered by the main governing agency (the AER in this case); however, it is a multi-agency review. A lot of coordination is needed with the appropriate provincial ministries and also the federal government.
The proponents submit integrated application paper copies and electronic copies (EIA report and other applications under the various enactments).
Review Process Summary for EPEA and Water Act EIA Projects
- EIA requirements are assessed based on the regulations.
- If an EIA is triggered, the proponent develops a proposed terms of reference and submits it to the AER. A notice is published to solicit public input. The final terms of reference is developed thereafter.
- The proponent prepares the EIA report based on the final terms of reference.
- The proponents submit integrated application paper copies and electronic copies (EIA report and other applications under the various enactments).
- Information entered on EMS and the joint public notice process is initiated. Joint public notice is published in newspapers. Parties or individuals can submit statements of concerns.
- A request for proposal for a third-party contract (i.e., 3PC) is issued, and a reviewer is selected.
- The integrated application is referred out to the appropriate internal and external parties, and the technical review begins. The EIA report is reviewed by the 3PC reviewers, and various applications are reviewed by the appropriate people. External parties include other provincial government agencies (Transportation, Health, etc.) and the federal government.
- Joint supplementary information requests (SIRs) can be triggered if more information is required. There can be several rounds of SIRs.
- Once the technical review is complete, the statement of concern application review SOCAR protocol is initiated to determine whether the project needs to go through a hearing.
- If the project is recommended for a hearing, a panel is established and the hearing process is initiated. After the hearing, a decision report will be published. If a hearing is not required, the EIA is deemed complete when it meets the conditions in the final terms of reference.
- Approvals under the various enactments are drafted based on the application, EIA, decision report, etc. The delegated decision-maker for each enactment is responsible for issuing those approvals. First Nations Consultation (FNC) adequacy is needed before making a decision.
- Once the decision is made, the signed approvals are sent to the proponent and all documents are uploaded onto the electronic record keeping system (ERKS).