Abstract

The author has chosen the opportunity of addressing the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy to briefly outline the evolution of legislation, regulations and administrative procedures currently applicable to the energy industry in Alberta. In order to provide brevity, many details have been omitted.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect government policy.

Often in the course of developing regulations, their purpose and objectives become obscured by the apparent perception of the industry being regulated as well as the manner in which they are being administered. It is the author's experience that regulations applying to land and people, both of which are inextricably related, can at best be guidelines; providing an objective and a sense of direction, hopefully followed but rarely achieved. The establishment of absolute standards applicable to land use and reclamation is impossible; but the creation of a process which provides opportunity for interaction and exchange of judgments is prudent.

The author wishes to express his sincere appreciation to Mr. D. G. Harrington, Director of The Land Conservation and Reclamation Division, Department of The Environment for his written comments on the procedures of the land surface conservation and reclamation act; to Mr. P. G. Schmidt, Departmental Solicitor, Department of The Environment for his research into the legislative history and to Dr. V. A. Wood, Formerly Deputy Minister, Department of Lands and Forests for his historical comments pertaining to land reclamation in Alberta.

Introduction

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Honored Venezuelan guests and ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to discuss with you, during the next few minutes, my personal opinion of the environmental impact of Canada's future energy resource development which will take place here in Alberta during the next several decades. I will do this by historically tracing the environmental regulatory criteria which were applied, to the conventional oil and gas as well as coal developments during our growth as an energy province, to the present. I will then detail the situation as it exists today with specific application to coal, oil sands and heavy oils; all of which constitute a major component of Canada's future energy sources. My emphasis will be placed on land; the application and assessment procedure, mitigative measures that can be designed into the operational activities, monitoring and reclamation procedures, as well as the need to continually incorporate more effective technology which permits the continued development of these important resources, in harmony with societies' concern for environmental protection.

Although some parts of this paper may not have direct relevance to our Venezuelan guests, would hope that our experiences are of interest to you. Just as we intend to learn from you, I trust that there is information here which may be of help in developing your great country. That is the purpose of this joint symposium.

Historical Legislative Perspective 1930 – 1973

  • 1930 – 1940

Although Alberta was created a province on July 20, 1905, ownership in its lands and minerals were not transferred from Canada until October 1, 1930.

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