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Natural Resources Law - OIL AND GAS - Conservation and licensing - Natural gas processing

Thursday, December 01, 2016 @ 7:00 PM  


Application by Coulas for leave to appeal a decision of the Alberta Energy Regulator denying her application for a regulatory appeal of a decision granting a licence to the respondent which operated a liquid natural gas processing plant. The applicant did not receive notice and did not make submissions at the time of the original licence application before the Regulator. The applicant, who resided a short distance from the plant, had a number of concerns with the facility, the majority of which dealt with the noise impact of the plant and other safety and environmental issues. The Regulator dismissed the applicant’s appeal without a hearing on the basis that she was not an “eligible person” under the Responsible Energy Development Act, as she was not directly and adversely affected by the decision to issue the licence because the plant was already operating at the time the licence was granted and did not entail any new construction or operation.

HELD: Application allowed. Leave to appeal was granted on the question of whether the Regulator erred in law in determining that the applicant was not an eligible person under the Responsible Energy Development Act and whether it erred in concluding that the issuance of the licence was merely an administrative decision. The applicant raised a serious and important issue that the Regulator might have acted unreasonably or unlawfully in holding that her interest was insufficient to make the applicant directly and adversely affected by the licencing decision made without a hearing. The Regulator’s conclusion that the issuance of the licence was merely an administrative decision provided a basis upon which the Regulator determined that the applicant was not an eligible person under the Act. It was arguable that there might be a significant natural justice flaw in a procedure that would grant the licence and deny an appeal of it, without notice or affording a full hearing on either issue, particularly considering the applicant lived in very close proximity to the plant.