Flipping through your local newspaper, you may notice ads from time to time about industrial companies renewing an Operating Approval. Just like the renewal of a driver’s license and passport at set intervals, most industrial facilities must renew their Operating Approval every ten years.
The need for Operating Approvals
Most facilities operating in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland need an approval to construct, operate and ultimately reclaim their site. This is required from the province of Alberta as one way to manage the environment. Once an approval is granted, a renewal is necessary every ten years. These regulations are part of the province’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA).
Approval renewals are required for several reasons. In part, the renewal process allows the opportunity to:
- review any changes to the facility
- incorporate current environmental conditions and any additional requirements that have changed since the original operating approval was granted
- review and identify continuous improvement at industrial sites
What is the process for renewing Operating Approvals?
Approval renewals are essentially treated like a new application. Companies must follow the Guide to Content for Industrial Approval Applications. This Guide describes all the information needed for the submission, including company and facility background, equipment, environmental conditions, public engagement, and more. Once completed, the application is submitted to Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP). The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has a similar process for these renewals.
How is the public involved?
Public involvement is a key component. The public must be notified of all applications through notices in local newspapers. Anyone that may be directly affected by an application may file a Statement of Concern with AEP or AER. All filed statements must be addressed by the applicant and the regulator prior to an approval or renewal being granted.
What can you expect in our region?
A number of facilities in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland will be going through the approval renewal process over the next year or two. Therefore, you are likely to see notices in local papers about those renewals. You can also stay informed using the Public Notice Viewers.