November 28, 2005

Amendments will ensure access to land for follow-up remediation

EDMONTON, ALTA-Legislative amendments recently introduced in the Alberta Legislature will ensure companies are able to access the land when additional cleanup work is required. Bill 53, the Surface Rights Amendment Act, follws from changes made to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act in 2003, dealing with land reclamation and remediation requirements. If passed, Bill 53 will give the Surface Rights Board (SRB) the authority to order re-entry on land to conduct reclamation and remediation work in situations where a company and a landowner or occupant cannot reach mutual agreement for access. The Board currently has that authority for initial entry, but not to return to the site if additional reclamation or remediation work is required. "Companies have a responsibility to clean up their sites and we want to ensure this happens in a timely manner," said Sustainable Resource Development Minister David Coutts, who is also responsible for the SRB. "In most cases, landowners and companies come to their own agreements but if this does not happen, we need a fair process to facilitate access to the land," he continued. The SRB ensures fair access to private and Crown land for industrial activities and, if required, sets the conditions of entry for industry and landowners or occupants. More information on Bill 53 is available on-line at www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=bills_home.

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