It's Getting Noisy!
Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen noise on the forefront of regulatory progress, and stakeholders increasingly reporting noise complaints about new and existing projects from established facilities to wind farms. As a result, regulators are implementing new policies to help mitigate the concerns and establish a baseline standard for consultation related to noise and permissible noise levels for energy projects.
In November 2018, the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) implemented a Noise Order requiring proactive consultation and notification within the Farmington Development Area (Northeast British Columbia). What did this mean? It means that the OGC stipulated that consultation and notification is required where noise impacts or may impact residents before and during operation of a well. Notification and concerns needed to be tracked. This is a new regulatory trend, and we expect the Farmington Development Area may be a test location for a one-day larger regulatory implementation.
On trend, the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) has spent the last two years evaluating its Noise Control regulations associated with electric and gas pipeline facilities. They gathered comments from stakeholders, which included energy giants such as TC Energy, Suncor, Golder Associates, AltaLink, ATCO as well as the Canadian Wind Energy Association and the Canadian Association of Petroleum producers, and recently announced the new changes to Rule 012 (Noise Control) will come into effect on August 1, 2019. Some of the changes include:
Updates to the Glossary, including new terms and further explanations. Specifically, the AUC’s stakeholders requested a definition for “Application deemed complete” which subsequently impacts Rule 007 (Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations and Hydro Developments). The new guidelines state:
“When determining an application’s completeness, the Commission considers the following two factors: (a) Whether the project layout is finalized and available to the public on the Commission’s eFiling System. (b) Whether the information provided by the applicant about the proposed facility satisfies all of the AUC’s information requirements.” Rule 007 Section 1.7
Clarification that the Commission does not require measurements at all dwellings to establish Ambient Sound Level;
Under General Provisions, new conditions for a time extension request;
Permissible sound level adjustments, including amending language from “impacted dwellings” to “affected dwellings” as well as clarifying permissible sound levels between existing and proposed facilities and dwellings;
Two new sections including 2.9 No New Increase and 2.10 Predicted Exceedances;
Clarification around Noise Impact Assessments (NIA), noise measurement and noise complaints.
When it comes to consultation, our clients have found it helpful to develop consultation tracking strategies to assist with AUC Rule 007 consultation requirements and OGC Noise Order notification requirements. According to AUC Rule 012 Section 2.8, when submitting a Noise Management Plan, the licensee must describe the consultation process and indicate if any affected persons have outstanding concerns with the plan. The OGC’s Noise Order specifically states notifications should be tracked alongside concerns raised, and that they prefer their licensees to have in-person conversations with stakeholders.
BRITT’s C3 Management™ establishes processes and protocols that help meet regulatory requirements, such as those found through the OGC and the AUC, by ensuring that the consultation data required to summarize consultation plans or address stakeholder concerns is accurately and thoroughly prepared. We’re more than happy to analyze and establish a system of tracking on your behalf to ensure crucial notification or consultation requirements are met!
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