Over the past week, the Alberta government has released several new regulations under the Responsible Energy Development Act (REDA) and has proclaimed that the majority of the REDA’s provisions will come into force on June 17, 2013. As of that date, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) will be replaced by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and all proceedings before the ERCB will continue under the REDA. Although many of the processes and requirements under the REDA and the AER Rules of Practice will be similar to those currently followed by the ERCB, there are several changes that participants will need to familiarize themselves with. For example, the AER will have greater discretion to process applications without holding a hearing, even if a party can show that it may be directly and adversely affected by the project in question. Conversely, if the AER decides to hold a hearing, it has the power to grant intervener status to parties that will not be directly and adversely affected. Further, if the AER processes an application without a hearing, and a party can show that it may be directly and adversely affected by that decision, the affected party may seek to use the REDA’s new mechanism for “regulatory appeals.”
The portions of the REDA that will not come into force on June 17 will combine the functions of the AER and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development with respect to all upstream oil, gas and coal developments. These portions of the REDA will come into force at a future date to be set by the provincial Cabinet.