Call for Delegates: Tailings Regulatory Management Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)

ENGO Members (2 or 3) and Alternates (2)
Tailings Regulatory Management Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
Application Deadline: 
11 Sep 2015

Using a consensus-based approach the committee will conduct a thorough review of the draft directive and produce recommendations for the AER. The TAC will operate as a forum where stakeholders can contribute their expertise to the development of the new directive.

The Government of Alberta (GoA) released the Lower Athabasca Region: Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands (TMF) on March 13, 2015. The TMF provides policy direction for the management and reduction of fluid tailings on Alberta’s landscape. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is responsible for developing and implementing requirements to achieve the TMF’s objectives and outcomes.

The AER responded to the release of the TMF by suspending Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes while it conducted a thorough analysis of the new provincial framework to determine how best to implement it. On April 9, 2015, the AER announced that a new directive would be developed to manage the accumulation of fluid tailings and that Directive 074 would remain suspended until it is replaced by the new directive. The AER expects oil sands mine operators to continue to proactively manage fluid tailings volumes while the new directive is finalized.

The AER engaged with different stakeholders in developing an initial draft of the new tailings directive. Stakeholders informed us that they believe that a more collaborative, technical approach is needed to increase the credibility tailings management. The AER is establishing a multistakeholder technical advisory committee on regulatory tailings management (TAC) to conduct a thorough review of the draft directive in conjunction with a 60-day public feedback period.

The TAC is established under the direction and authority of the AER President and CEO, Jim Ellis. The TAC’s mandate is to provide a technical review  of the draft directive  for the purpose of developing recommendations that meet the following objectives.The TAC objectives are to: 

  • identify any gaps or deficiencies in the directive;
  • suggest recommendations for requirements or directive content needed to address any gaps or deficiencies; and 
  • provide its recommendations to AER within the given timeframe.

Committee Composition:
The TAC will be comprised of representation from industry, environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs), First Nations, Métis, municipalities and community-based groups with direct interest in tailings management, and the AER. The Government of Alberta will be invited to participate as an observer.

Decision Making Process:
The TAC will use a consensus process for reaching agreement on its recommendations which are likely to be more innovative and longer-lasting than those reached through traditional negotiation processes.  While the goal of the TAC committee is to reach consensus on its recommendations, items on which consensus is not reached will nevertheless be forwarded to the AER. Where consensus is not reached, the views of the various parties, including the pros and cons of their respective solutions, will be provided to the AER without attribution. The AER is the final decision-maker on regulatory requirements.

Time Commitment: 

 The AER anticipates that the committee will meet for five two-day workshops between September and November 2015. There may also be a one-day oil sands site tour, based on a needs assessment by the TAC.  Timelines must align with the AER’s commitment to release a fluid tailings management directive by the end of 2015. The TAC must conclude the directive review no later than November 13, 2015.

The following dates are tentative and will be adjusted based on feedback, release of the draft directive, and progress of the committee:

  • September 23-24
  • October 7-8
  • October 21-22
  • November 4-5
  • November 12-13
  • Optional: One additional day for a facility tour

Fort McMurray and/or Calgary but AER will make determination based on location and preference of committee members.

Expenses & Honoraria: 

Members who are otherwise not compensated for their time on the committee will be provided with an honorarium, travel support and per diems as outlined in the AER/AEN contract:

  • Meeting Attendance Honorarium: $125/half day, $250/day;
  • Prep & Followup: $106 preparation time & $106 followup time per meeting (if required);
  • Transportation: Airfare, busfare, or private vehicle mileage ($0.505/km);
  • Travel Time: $30/hour;
  • Meal Allowance: $41/day maximum (with receipts);
  • Overnight Accommodation: $220/night maximum (one night for each day of meetings).

Expectations of Committee Members:
Please review the Expectations of Committee Members outlined in the attached draft Terms of Reference.

Additionally, delegates are expected to provide updates, and to caucus with other interested AEN members via email communications and periodic conference calls or meetings.

Selection Criteria: 

The AEN is seeking delegates who: 

  • Are designated representatives of a reputable environmental organization with experience and an active interest in fluid tailings management and other oil sands mining issues. 
  • Possess in-depth knowledge of fluid tailings management issues and strong familiarity with the Tailings Management Framework.
  • Possess a proven ability to participate, work professionally, constructively and collaboratively with other stakeholders and with AER representatives.
  • Have experience in multi-stakeholder decision-making and developing recommendations. 
Application Instructions: 

Please reply to [email protected] by Friday, September 11, 2015 providing:

  • Contact information of applicant (including address, email, and phone number);
  • The name of the environmental organization the applicant is representing;
  • A brief description of the applicant’s background, expertise, and experience regarding oil sands and especially tailings management issues;
  • A brief description of the applicant’s background, experience, and attributes relevant to the remaining selection criteria;
  • Preferred meeting location: Calgary and/or Fort McMurray.

A delegate selection committee comprising members of the AEN Water and Clean Air/Energy Caucuses will review all applications and select the members & alternates by September 17, 2015.

If you have questions of the AER regarding this committee, please contact Jennifer Lutz ([email protected] or 1-855-297-8311 or 403-592-4096). 

If you are interested in more information on the Alberta Tailings Management Framework please view “Spotlight On Alberta's Tailings Management Framework”.