Natural Resource Projects

Frequently Asked Questions

Determining the public interest of a natural resource project
 

The Natural Resources Conservation Board must consider the environmental, economic and social impacts of a project in order to determine its public interest. Projects are referred to the Natural Resources Conservation Board for review under the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act if the project requires an environmental impact assessment. Projects may also be referred to the Natural Resources Conservation Board by Order in Council. 

The board hears evidence from the applicant, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and citizens. In most cases, the evidence is brought forward in a public hearing. Hearing participants, including the board and board staff, have an opportunity to test the evidence put forward by other participants through questioning.
 

The board must then weigh the evidence and decide what, in its view, is in the public interest. The board documents the matters considered and the conclusions it reached in order to approve or deny a project.
Environmental impact assessment reviews
 

The Natural Resources Conservation Board coordinates with Environment and Parks to establish joint terms of reference for reviewable projects. The terms of reference set out common information requirements for the board review and the environmental impact assessment. Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) ensure the applicant has considered cumulative impacts on the environment and community, and has consulted with the affected community.

The review of the environmental impact assessment is led by Environment and Parks. The board and its Science and Technology division participate in the review of the environmental impact assessment. The review may require the applicant to provide supplemental information before the assessment is determined to be complete.

The board's public interest determination process is initiated when the board receives the completed environmental impact assessment. The review of the environmental impact assessment is led by Environment and Parks.

Participation in a hearing
 

The board’s mandate under the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act is to determine whether a natural resource project is in the public interest of Albertans. To do this, the board considers a project's potential social, economic and environmental effects.

The board values public participation in its review process for proposed natural resource developments. Albertans who are directly affected by a proposed development are encouraged to participant in the review process, including the public hearing if one is held. Individuals or groups who wish to provide relevant evidence about an application for a proposed natural resource project should register with the board within the timeframe set out in the hearing notice.

Board review staff are available to help parties understand how to participate effectively in the review process.

Intervener funding
  The board may award funding to allow interveners to participate fully in project reviews conducted under the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act. Interveners who are seeking funding must demonstrate to the board that they would be directly affected by a project, that the information they could provide would help the board understand the implications of the proposal and that any money awarded would be used to good effect.
Appeals
  Board decisions with respect to Natural Resources Conservation Board Act applications can only be appealed to the Alberta Court of Appeal on questions of law or jurisdiction. The court must first grant leave to appeal.
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