Decision Date: March 8, 2022
Panel: Robert Wickett, Q.C.
Keywords: Oil and Gas Activities Act – s. 72(2); Administrative Tribunals Act – s. 34(3)(b); permit; waste water storage; relevant evidence
Penalty Ranch Ltd. (the “Appellant”) appealed a permit issued by the Oil and Gas Commission (“Commission”) to Crew Energy Inc. (“Crew”). The permit authorizes Crew to construct and operate a water containment facility on Crown land that is subject to an agricultural lease held by the Appellant. The Appellant operates a cattle ranch.
Crew’s facility includes two in-ground containment ponds to store water produced from Crew’s oil and gas activities in the area, including water that was injected into natural gas wells and any chemicals added during the production/treatment process. Water produced from Crew’s oil and gas activities in the area was previously stored in numerous above-ground containment ponds in the same area.
The Appellant appealed the permit on the grounds that the fluid stored in the facility will contain contaminants that could cause harm to groundwater, vegetation, and the Appellant’s cattle. The Appellant maintained that the area experiences earthquakes that could cause a spill of the stored fluids. Also, evaporation of the stored fluids could contaminate vegetation on surrounding grazing land. If cattle consume toxins arising from the fluids, it could harm the Appellant’s business. The Appellant maintained that the Commission failed to give due regard to the Appellant’s concerns before the permit was issued.
The Tribunal found that the Commission gave due regard to the submissions that the Appellant had provided to Crew and the Commission before the permit was issued. When the permit was issued, the Commission provided detailed reasons explaining how it considered the Appellant’s concerns, and it added numerous conditions to the permit in response to the Appellant’s concerns.
Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.