JH Drilling Inc. v. Alberta Natural Resources Conservation Board, et al.
(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)
Administrative law - Natural resources.
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Administrative law — Natural Resources Conservation Board — Whether anyone should be entitled to a formal hearing by the Natural Resources Conservation Board — Whether the Board should discuss concerns about a project when a formal hearing is not granted — Whether decision making bodies should be required to consider greenhouse gases should be considered by the Board — Whether the amended Alberta Rules of Court should have been applied here — Whether an applicant has to receive leave to appeal multiple times — Whether you have to be a classical landowner in order to be “directly affected” within the meaning of s. 8(3) of the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act — Whether contracts law and farmout agreements bind the Government of Alberta — Whether the Natural Resources Conservation Board lost jurisdiction by failing to give a fair hearing or any hearing on the matter of standing — Whether the Natural Resources Conservation Board erred in law in finding that JH Drilling was not “directly affected” within the meaning of s. 8(3).
Parsons Creek Aggregates Ltd. applied for regulatory approval for constructing and operating a limestone quarry. JH Drilling Inc. objected, saying that it had explored some of the same lands and had applied for a Surface Materials Lease to develop clay, sand and gravel on those lands. The NRCB found that JHD did not have standing in respect of the Parsons application because it was not “directly affected” by the project within the meaning of the Natural Resources Conservation Board Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. N-3. Specifically, it did not own or lease the land subject to the lease application. As there was no objection to the application from a person with standing, it was not necessary to hold a public hearing. Parsons’ application was approved by written decision of the NRCB in February 2014. JHD sought and was granted leave to appeal, but a motion to reargue was granted. Leave to appeal that decision was denied. Leave to appeal that decision and the previous decision, and a motion to stay those leave applications, were also denied. A motion for leave to reargue those applications for leave to appeal was then dismissed, and directions on costs were given.
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