B.C. Oil And Gas Commission announces interim measures to address First Nation concerns

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The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) has announced new interim measures to address concerns of the Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) over oil and gas development activities on the BFRN’s critical areas.

A new Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment Interim Measures Agreement has been signed by BFRN, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the Oil And Gas Commission, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. It will apply to defined areas within the BRFN traditional territory.

“The agreement is designed to address immediate concerns with respect to petroleum and natural gas development activities in BRFN’s critical areas while supporting the access and development of resources in specific areas identified by the parties,” the commission said in an industry bulletin released Wednesday (July 11).

“There are critical areas where new surface disturbance will not be permitted or will be restricted and other areas where development activities will be managed.”

Specific interim measures focused on applications are being applied within the identified areas. The commission is incorporating the interim measures into the application review process and Area-based Analysis (ABA). Beginning July 16, 2018, the interim measures will be applied to applications that fall within the identified areas.

Applicants must include a completed Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment (RSEA) interim measures form located on the commission website, when applying in these areas.

Within Area 2 the management objective is “restricted new surface disturbance.”

 New surface disturbance may occur provided the disturbance meets one of the following conditions:

  • Occurs on private land;
  • Occurs on Crown Agricultural Land Reserves that have been converted to agricultural use;
  • Occurs for safety and environmental purposes;
  • Occurs on existing pads or other areas previously disturbed by industrial activities;
  • Occurs in cut blocks less than 20 years old;
  • Is required by the proponent of the North Montney Mainline to support the construction of the National Energy Board (NEB) North Montney Mainline project;
  • Is supported by agreements between industry and BRFN (e.g., impact benefit agreements, contracts, etc.).

Applications that could result in new surface disturbance that do not meet the above criteria will be referred for additional review.

Within Areas 1 and 3 the management objective is “no new surface disturbance.” Applications that could result in new surface disturbance and do not meet the new surface disturbance criteria for Area 2 above will be referred for additional review and, if approved, will require timely offset restoration.

Additional requirements will apply where ABA has identified the area as enhanced management and/or regulatory policy. Operators will be required to submit a mitigation strategy for any activity impacting enhanced management and regulatory policy areas.

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