The Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation was enacted on
September 1, 2011. It defines the processes under which Albertans
can, among other matters, make requests for review or amendments to
regional plans implemented under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act
and make applications for variances of restrictions, limitations,
and requirements of land use under a regional plan.
Any Albertan who is "directly and adversely affected"
by a regional plan may request a review. A "direct and adverse
affect" is defined as there being the reasonable probability
that a person's health, property, income or quiet enjoyment of
property, or some combination of them, is being, or will be, more
than minimally harmed by the regional plan.
A party may seek either or both of a review or a variance of the
regional plan. Variances are waivers of compliance in respect of
any restriction, limitation or requirement regarding a land area or
subsisting land use, or both, under a regional plan.
The Stewardship Minister may appoint a panel to hear
applications for reviews of regional plans or appoint an advisory
panel in relation to applications for variances. These panels may
consist of an existing regional plan board or other body if it has
suitable expertise and resources, or may consist of individuals
from the private sector, government, and existing regional plan
Decision-makers, including the Energy Resources Conservation
Board (ERCB), have five years from the date a regional plan is
finalized and issued by the Government to review their rules and
other regulatory instruments and ensure their compliance with the
regional plan. Such a time lag in retroactive adjustment of these
instruments raises the concern of increased regulatory
It remains unclear as to how conflicts and inconsistencies
between regional plans that result in decision-makers being unable
to comply with two different plans will be addressed. Parties must
also be aware that the Secretariat may issue interpretation
bulletins which can be binding and effectively form part of the
regional plan. All of these intersecting layers of regulation may
result in interpretation difficulties and challenges to regulatory
permits, orders, and other approvals.
It is imperative during this time of transition in the
regulation of Alberta land use that all parties requiring
approvals, permits, or licenses relating to any land use activity
be thorough in their consideration of the potential regulatory
overlap and increased oversight that results from the Alberta Land
Stewardship Act and be cognizant of the review processes available
pursuant to the associated Alberta Land Stewardship Regulation.
Due to the political atmosphere in Alberta, a temporary
suspension of ALSA may occur in which the legislation will be under
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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