Environmental Approval Process
The Government of Alberta has an approval process governed by the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Alberta Environment 2007a). In each administrative region, one Director is responsible for determining environmental impacts through an appropriate review process. Details of the approval process and projects that require approval are summarized in three principal regulations:
- Approvals and Registrations Procedure Regulation AR 113/93 with amendments up to and including AR 251/2001
- Activities Designation Regulation AR 211/96 with amendments up to and including AR 113/2006; and
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement (Miscellaneous) Regulation AR 118/93 with amendments up to and including AR 161/2005. (Alberta Environment 2007d)
During the approval process, any potential problems should be identified and mitigated before the project proceeds. Any stipulations or operating conditions are laid out at this stage as are plans for regular monitoring and inspection. As a further guarantee of compliance there are penalties for non-compliance; up to $ 1 million in fines and two years imprisonment.
In Alberta, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is part of the approval process of a project. The EIA is a summary of project activities, local and regional effects as well as any areas that require mitigation or monitoring and investigation. These areas of analysis are important indicators of where any legislation needs to be implemented, or where further research and monitoring are required (Alberta Environment, 2004).