Q. What is the new public lands formal disposition application process for the Alberta Energy Regulator?
A. Effective April 28, 2017, Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), in collaboration with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), has updated the application requirements and information technology (IT) for Public Lands Act formal disposition applications. Clients will experience a new look and feel to the electronic disposition system (EDS) and the landscape analysis tool (LAT), which are the IT systems used for Public Lands Act formal disposition applications. Application information will now be provided to AEP and the AER through a web-based system.
The new process will be referred to as the public lands disposition application (PLDA) process.It includes all AER formal disposition applications formerly processed under the enhanced approval process (EAP) and the environmental field report (EFR) process. Please refer to the Alberta Environment and Parks website for more information on the PLDA process: http://aep.alberta.ca/forms-maps-services/industry-online-services/public-lands-dispositions/default.aspx.
A formal disposition is defined in the Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR) and includes the following:
Oil sands exploration programs, coal exploration programs, and geophysical applications are NOT considered under this new process.
Q. How will the PLDA process work?
A. EDS will now consider an application based on its purpose and activity, which will dictate which supplement forms must be completed for the application.
The supplements, in question-answer format, are to be completed using the information from the LAT report as well as the information provided by the applicant. See Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR) Table A2 for information about AER formal disposition purposes and their activity codes.
Q. Who do I contact if I have questions about the PLDA process for AER applications?
A. Send any inquiries about AER applications to the public lands disposition application mailbox at PLDAInquiries@aer.ca.
You will receive a response within 48 hours.
Q. What disposition tenure terms are being considered under the PLDA process?
A. An initial disposition issued through the PLDA process will generally have a four-year term. Upon an amendment or renewal of a disposition, a 10 to 25 year term will be considered if the site has been entered.
Pipelines are exceptions and are not given a specific tenure term.
PLAR outlines the maximum term that can be granted for specific formal disposition types.
Depending on the purpose and activity code, the term is subject to change. Dispositions for activities such as mining and in situ may be given longer initial terms.
Q. What is an application supplement number?
A. This is a number that is generated once a supplement is created through the new EDS supplement module.
The AS# is unique to each supplement created and allows EDS to match the supplement to the application. This number does NOT change.
Q. What are the key changes to the application supplements?
A. All applications will now require an application supplement. An application supplement provides specific information in support of an application/amendment submission to EDS. New supplements have been created to address purpose and activity types. The new application supplements were designed considering the former EAP supplements where appropriate.
Applications that do not meet the approval standards outlined in their LAT report must be accompanied by an application supplement with mitigation.
Application supplements are now web-based fillable documents within EDS. When an application supplement is created, it will be issued an application supplement number (AS#).
Once an application is submitted through EDS, the supplement will be locked for review and can no longer be edited.
A supplemental information request will be sent to the applicant if the AER requests a mitigation strategy revision. The applicant will receive notice by the unique AS# indicating that the supplement has been unlocked and is accessible for editing. Once the revision is complete, the applicant must resubmit the document through EDS. Once resubmitted, the application supplement will be locked.
Please Note: Only the mitigation strategy information can be edited in the system.
Q. Does the application supplement expire?
A. There is no expiry date on application supplements.
Q. What does the “AS” stand for within the LAT approval conditions?
A. It stands for approval standard.
Q. Can I fix an error in the supplement after I have submitted it with an application?
A. No. Once an application is submitted, the supplement cannot be edited. The applicant can only edit supplements after they have been submitted if the AER requests revisions.
Q. Are there different application supplements for amendments?
A. No. The application supplements required for amendment applications are the same supplements used for new disposition applications.
Q. How many LAT reports and application supplements can I create?
A. There are no limits on the number of LAT reports or application supplements the applicant can create.
Q. Is there an application supplement user’s manual for me to reference?
A. Yes. Refer to the EDS Application Supplement User Guide posted on the Alberta Environment and Parks website.
Q. Can I still use my current EAP supplements as an attachment?
A. No. Applicants are required to use application supplements created in the new supplement module for applications made on or after April 28, 2017.
Q. Can I still provide my completed EFR as an attachment?
A. As of April 28, 2017, the AER will no longer be accepting EFRs. The information from the EFRs will need to be populated into the web-based supplement form.
Q. Will supplements still be available in PDF format?
A. EDS requires all supplements to be generated using the supplement module. The applicant will still be required to download and attach the completed supplement as a PDF document. Enhancements to the system are being considered to limit the amount of information that needs to be attached to an application.
Completed supplements can be downloaded and printed from the supplement module.
Q. How do I amend my disposition that was previously issued through the EAP or EFR process?
A. All amendment applications, regardless of whether they were previously submitted through the EAP or EFR process, will now be submitted through the EDS and will require a LAT report and an application supplement.
Q. When does a file number of consultation need to be provided with an AER application?
A. A file number for consultation (FNC) is to be obtained and provided with an application. For a formal disposition application to be accepted, the FNC provided must indicate that the consultation process has reached a specific stage. The stage of consultation that an FNC is required to have reached when an application is submitted depends on the disposition type and the purpose/activity being applied for. See Public Lands Administration Regulation (PLAR) Table A2 for information about AER formal disposition purposes and their activity code. This change is effective immediately.
For more information, please refer to section 5.5 (Step One - Pre-Application) of the Formal Disposition Application Process posted on the Alberta Environment and Parks website.
Q. Are renewal application requirements or processes changing?
A. Yes, EDS will not allow the submission of a renewal application if the disposition has expired. If you have an expired disposition, please email the AER at AERSurfaceActivityApplication@aer.ca.
Q. What key changes are occurring with landscape analysis tool requirements?
A. A LAT report is now mandatory for all new and amendment applications submitted through EDS. For more information on how to use the LAT, please refer to the Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT) User Guide.
Q. There is no LAT # in the new supplements. Does this mean I can reuse the LAT report and supplement if my application is rejected?
A. There are no changes in the process regarding reusing information. LAT reports and supplements that have previously been used in a new application cannot be used in subsequent applications.
Applicants can reuse the LAT report and supplement from rejected amendment applications if it is still appropriate and within the timeline for a valid LAT report.
Q. For how long is my LAT report valid?
A. A LAT report generated after April 28, 2017, will be valid for four months. A LAT report older than four months will be rejected.
EDS will verify that the LAT number in the application matches the corresponding LAT report.
Q. Are written consent requirements for the AER changing?
A. No. All consent requirements will remain the same. Please see PLAR and the consent submissions procedure outlined in AER Bulletin 2015-02.
Q. Will the integrated standards and guidelines still be used?
A. No. The integrated standards and guidelines have been amalgamated with the master schedule of conditions. This combined document is now referred to as the Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions.
Q. Will I need to create a new encrypted plan after April 28, 2017?
Q. Will I require new shape files for LAT after April 28, 2017?
A. Applicants will still be able to use shape files created before system upgrades for use in LAT. However, applicants will need to update the attributes of the shapefile, re-upload them and generate a new LAT report after April 28, 2017.
Q. Are there any changes to the plan confirmation service?
Q. Will the system upgrade affect user IDs and passwords?
Q. Are there changes to formal disposition documents that were previously issued?
A. Yes, the previously issued short- and long-term approval documents and letters of authority will no longer be used. If the application was received before April 28, 2017, you will receive a disposition document based on whether the application was filed through the EAP (short- or long-term approval) or EFR process (letter of authority).
For applications submitted to EDS after the system change on April 28, 2017, when a decision is issued the applicant will receive a disposition document that looks different. New applications will be issued a “disposition” document; amended applications will be issued an “amended disposition” document; and renewal applications will be issued a “renewed disposition” document. All disposition documents will be sent electronically to the applicant through the EDS system.
These disposition documents will have the following components:
Q. What key changes will be made to wildlife survey requirements?
A. The LAT will identify sensitive wildlife areas and ranges to determine whether a wildlife survey is required. Wildlife surveys determine whether sensitive wildlife habitat features or species are present.
If the LAT report submitted says that a wildlife survey form is required, EDS will require the wildlife survey form to be uploaded and it will validate that a document has been uploaded when the application is submitted. EDS will reject the application if the wildlife survey form is not included.
The AER may request all wildlife survey documentation at any time.
Q. Did the Public Lands Administration Regulation table A2 purpose and activity codes change?
A. No. There has been no change to the Public Lands Administration Regulation table A2 (April 28, 2017) purpose and activity codes. The changes to the table were to incorporate the file number of consultation (FNC) adequacy requirements columns
Q. Will the Landscape Analysis Tool number still be a key identifier on required consent documents?
A. The Landscape Analysis Tool (LAT) report number is still considered an acceptable unique identifier for consent documents. As government-generated unique identifiers (e.g., LAT or FNC) are subject to change before an application is submitted, the AER recommends that unique identifiers generated by a forest management agreement (FMA) holder be used when provided. The AER will consider any unique identifier identified in Bulletin 2015-02: Consent Submissions for Public Lands Disposition Applications to be acceptable on consent documents.
Q. Is a caribou protection plan still required?
A. No. A caribou protection plan is no longer required for formal disposition applications as this information is gathered in the LAT report.
Q. How do I submit an additional line request application within the new public lands disposition application process?
A. All additional line request applications must now be made using a disposition operational approval application.
Q. Why does the Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions no longer reference the disposition type?
A. The Master Schedule of Standards and Conditions is a consolidation of all standards and conditions. Applicants are encouraged to run a LAT report to determine which specific approval standards and conditions will apply to their project. The LAT report is to be considered part of the activity preplanning stage.
Q. Will there be an application supplement version number when edits are made?
A. No. Previous versions will be replaced by the most recent update, and no version identifier will be indicated on the document.
Q. What are the requirements for the different types of amendment applications?
A. Where an amendment application is identifying a change to the formal disposition (area, purpose, etc.), all new application documents are required. Where an amendment application is identifying a plan replacement (no changes to the disposition area, location, purpose, etc.) or a deletion of lands with no routing change, updated documentation is not required (e.g., application supplement, LAT report, consents, FNC, etc.).
Q. When will the AER be shifting to OneStop?
A. On June 26, 2017, the AER implemented a new online process for new pipeline construction applications under the Pipeline Act using the OneStop platform. The next step is to enhance the system to include pipeline application amendments followed by Public Lands Act applications. We plan to release the next iteration later in 2017.
Q.Can I switch between an application supplement with or without mitigation?
A. Currently, the application supplement module does not allow for this to occur. Future enhancements are being considered to allow this.
Q. Can more than one company representative access the Electronic Disposition System to edit the application supplement?
A. Yes, at this time multiple users with access under the same client ID have the ability to create and edit application supplements within the supplement module. It is up to the owner of the Electronic Disposition System client ID to set permission protocol to establish accessibility.
Q. Will the confirmation email that is received after submitting an application indicate on what path the application was routed?
A. No. Not at this time.
Q. Are the processing timelines going to improve for applications?
A. The AER’s application processing timelines have not been revised at this time. Please continue to visit the AER website for updates.
Q. What does the effective date of July 4, 2017, signify in the FNC adequacy column in the public lands disposition application requirements reference table?
A. This effective date applies to Alberta Environment and Parks applications only. This grace period does not apply to AER applications, and the public lands disposition application requirements reference tableapplies to AER applications effective April 28, 2017.
Q. Will the system validate that the purpose and activity code is consistent throughout the application documents?
A. Yes. The system will validate that the activity/purpose combination is consistent across the three documents below:
Q. Will I need to update my plan with the new plan requirements?
A. The AER implemented a three-month grace period for plans using the old plan requirements. This grace period ended on July 28, 2017, and all new plan submissions must meet the new plan requirements.
Q. Can we see the layers of the map in the LAT report?
A. No. Currently the LAT report only displays the proposed disposition boundary, base water features, and Alberta Township System boundary.
Q. What layers in the LAT are standard? Do we choose which ones apply?
A. About 80 layers are available in the LAT for viewing. The LAT opens with a default setting of selected layers. However, users can turn layers “off” and “on” depending on their needs and preferences. The layers selected will not affect the layers on the report output. For more information, please review the LAT user guide available at http://aep.alberta.ca/forms-maps-services/industry-online-services/electronic-disposition-system/default.aspx
Q. Are the standards for the reclamation requirements in the LAT specific to a site or activities, as there are unique requirements for in situ?
A. No. The conditions outlined in the LAT are general in nature and are not meant to replace reclamation requirements outlined in other legislation such as the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and approvals under it. For specific activities, or for applications that do not have another approval governing reclamation or that can’t meet the LAT standard, the application supplement with mitigation will be required. Where another approval is in place governing reclamation, the public lands application information should specify this approval information.
Q. Why do the new application supplements require identification of upland or wetland areas within the proposed disposition area?
A. The collection of this information is to help with wetland inventory in the future. This does not affect the requirements under the Alberta Wetland Policy.
Q. How is the amount of upland and wetland area determined?
A. Currently, this is a general determination of upland and wetland areas. If more detailed information can be extrapolated from a submission under the Alberta Wetland Policy, applicants are encouraged to do so.
Q. Are field visits always required to verify upland and wetland areas?
A. Field visits are recommended to determine the amount of upland or wetland area. However, this can be done through desktop delineation where upland and wetland features are clearly identified.
Q. Metis settlements require LAT numbers as part of the consultation process. How will this affect our application?
A. Your application to the AER will not be affected. The AER will continue to review applications to ensure consultation requirements have been met as outlined in the ministerial order (Energy 39/2016 and Environment and Parks 16/2016) and the Joint Operating Procedures for Metis Settlements Consultation on Energy Resource Activities.
NOTE: We do ask that the LAT report number be provided on the FNC application supplement. This is not validated against information provided as part of the consultation process. It is for the AER to ensure that the FNC application supplement is tied to the application submitted.
Q. Will my application be rejected if it doesn’t meet the new content requirements for survey plans and sketches? Is there a grandfathering period for plan submissions?
A. The intent of the new document was not to create any “new” deficiencies, only to clarify and consolidate the existing things that the examiners check. Ideally there should not be a need for a grandfathering period, but there is always the possibility of unintended consequences. Over the next six months, we will be monitoring the process to see if any changes are needed.
Q. If my previous approval has specific conditions for submission of caribou protection plans, am I still required to submit these plans?
A. Yes, you are required to meet all conditions of your approval. If you amended your approval, once approved it will include the new caribou conditions in the master schedule of standards and conditions, so you will no longer be required to submit caribou protection plans.