Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin
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January 31, 2014

Emergency Order Restricts Oil and Gas Activities on Provincial Land

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On December 4, the federal cabinet issued its first Emergency Order to be made under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The emergency order restricts resource-based development on provincial land — in this case identified as habitat necessary for the survival or recovery of the Greater Sage-Grouse in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The Order, which applies to 1,276 sq. km of provincial Crown land, as well as 356 sq. km of federally protected land, prohibits a number of activities that would destroy or inhibit habitat or nesting for the birds in legal subdivisions or road allowances. 

Noise and the prohibition on the destruction of native plants is likely to halt or inhibit gas well development in the area.

While not significant to member activities, this order is significant since it’s the first time the federal government has exercised its power under SARA to prohibit activities that are normally under provincial jurisdiction. This emergency order demonstrates that the federal government is willing to exercise this authority and could lead to further prohibitions on land based activities in the future.


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