Energy Law Bulletin: The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan and the Management of Cumulative Effects


The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (“LARP”) came into effect on September 1, 2012 and is the first of seven regional plans to be released under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act. The LARP establishes the new cumulative effects approach to be used in the Lower Athabasca region and provides valuable insight as to how Alberta’s oil sands resources will be managed in the decades to come.

Cumulative Effects Management

In 2008, Alberta committed to manage the cumulative effects of development on air, water, land and biodiversity at the regional level. The development of regional plans for each of Alberta’s seven watersheds is the first step towards this goal.

For the Lower Athabasca region, the LARP affirms Alberta’s commitment to optimize the economic potential of the oil sands resource while recognizing that the cumulative effects of population growth and economic development in the region is increasing pressures on the region’s air, water, land and biodiversity. To address these concerns, the LARP expressly adopts a cumulative effects management approach.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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