Opportunities for Public Participation in the Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing Operations in Alberta

Alastair Lucas, Heather Lilles

Abstract


As the “anti-frack” movement gains momentum in society and the media, the oil and gas industry is faced with increasing demand for public participation and consultation in hydraulic fracturing operations. In Alberta, public participation has taken a number of forms, occurring during both the regulatory process and hydraulic fracturing operations themselves. This article analyzes the adequacy of these public participation opportunities by outlining the current opportunities for participation and the Alberta Court of Appeal’s rulings regarding the adequacy of notification and consultation. Ultimately, the article concludes that despite a number of new regulatory initiatives, opportunities for public participation in hydraulic fracturing operations have not increased. However, the article remains optimistic that changes can and should occur, increasing opportunities for public participation and improving the timing and quality of such consultation.

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