The British Columbia Supreme Court has dismissed a legal
challenge to decisions of the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) to
grant successive, short-term approvals to EnCana Corporation to
withdraw fresh water from B.C.'s lakes, rivers and streams for
use in hydraulic fracturing operations. Under B.C.'s Water Act,
all surface water is owned by the government and diversions are
only allowed pursuant to a two year approval or a long-term
license. A two year approval application is subject to less
regulatory scrutiny than a long-term license application, and does
not require the same public notice requirements.
The OGC granted various two year approvals to EnCana. The
Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Sierra Club filed a
petition in the Supreme Court seeking to vacate the OGC's
decisions to issue successive, two year approvals for water
withdrawals from the same source. The petitioners claimed that
although no one approval was for more than two years, multiple
approvals were granted back to back over multiple years to EnCana
for the same purpose and for diversions at the same locations,
thereby effectively violating the two year term limit. The
petitioners said that the OGC should have required EnCana to apply
for long-term licenses instead of successive two year
The Court found that the Water Act did not prohibit the
OGC's practice and deference should be given to the OGC in how
it manages the issuance of approvals and licenses. The Court
dismissed the claim.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
In Bank of Montreal v Bumper Development Corporation Ltd, 2016 ABQB 363, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench enforced the "immediate replacement" provision in the Canadian Association of Petroleum Landmen 2007 Operating Procedure...
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