Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approvals

According to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), you must obtain approval for certain land, water and air projects.

Important notice

Rock-hosted minerals now regulated by the Alberta Energy Regulator

On February 28, 2024, the Mineral Resource Development Act (MRDA) was proclaimed.

Effective immediately the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is the single lifecycle regulator for all brine-hosted and rock-hosted minerals in Alberta and all accompanying Water Act licences and approvals.

All Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) applications for mineral development are now submitted to the AER at: [email protected].

All Water Act applications, amendments and renewals related to mineral development are now applied for at: Alberta Energy Regulator Water Act 


The Alberta government reviews the potential environmental impacts of all proposed projects.

The Act supports a streamlined "single window" approach to approvals: one Director in each administrative region is responsible for coordinating and integrating the review of potential impacts of proposed projects on the environment (air, land and water).


The following regulations explain the review process in detail:

Applications and submissions

Paper copies of EPEA applications and submissions are no longer accepted. You must email your application and supporting documents in PDF format.

For information about submission requirements:

When you need approval

You must seek approval for activities involving the following main categories:

  • conservation
  • miscellaneous (pesticides, designated materials)
  • potable (drinking) water
  • substance release
  • waste management

If your project involves more than one of these activities a single blanket approval may be issued.

Approval process

Step 1. Filing

Send your application and fee to our Regulatory Approvals Centre (see contact information below).

The application

Include the following information in your application:

  • location, capacity and size of the activity
  • nature of the activity
  • explanation about any public consultation you have done or plan to do about the activity

If these requirements don’t apply to your proposed project, the director can waive them.


The fee structure is based on:

  • one charge for each new approval, renewal or amendment
  • the complexity of the proposed activity
  • the level of service needed to process the application

Information on the appropriate fees can be found at: Application Fees Order.

Fees are payable to the Government of Alberta. Once the technical review of your application has begun, fees are non-refundable.

Step 2. Notice requirements

As per EPEA, the public must be notified of all approval applications. Anyone affected by an application may explain their concerns to the director in writing. The public may also appeal approval decisions.

Waiving notice

The director may waive notice:

  • in an emergency
  • when the activity is routine (with minimal or no adverse effect on the environment)
  • if adequate notice has already been given

Step 3. Review

The review determines the proposed project’s overall environmental impact. It addresses:

  • design plans
  • site suitability
  • proposed monitoring programs
  • methods to minimize substance generation, use and release

If needed, the director may ask for additional information during the review. The applicant may also be asked to address the public’s concerns. This could involve holding information meetings or responding to individual statements of concern.

Step 4. Decision

The director considers public hearings and statements of concern in decision-making. The Alberta Energy Regulator and Natural Resources Conservation Board hold the public hearings.

Decisions are shared with the applicant and anyone who filed a statement of concern.

Step 5. Appeal

Requests for appeal can be submitted to the Environmental Appeals Board. This administrative group was established under the EPEA.

Find out how to appeal at: Environmental Appeals Board.

Additional information


An approval can be transferred with the director’s written consent. Email the completed transfer application to the Regulatory Approvals Centre (see contact information below).

There is no fee for a transfer.

Certificate of qualification

A certificate of qualification may be needed if your work affects the environment. This certificate is needed if you are working with:

  • pesticides
  • potable water
  • substance release
  • wastewater and storm drainage

These certificates do not duplicate other Alberta training or certification programs.

Approval amendments

Either the applicant or the director can ask for amendments to approvals. This happens if adverse effects appear after an approval has already been issued.

Amendments have to go through the same approval process as new applications.

Some changes do not require an amendment. These are listed in Section 67(3) of EPEA.

Financial security

If a project involves waste management, conservation or reclamation, financial security will need to be provided. If the terms of the approval or legislation with respect to conservation and reclamation are not followed, security can be used to remedy deficiencies.

Sometimes a water-well regulation approval will be cancelled or suspended. If that happens, the approval holder may not get another approval unless they provide financial security.

Suspension and cancellation

Sometimes an approval will be cancelled or suspended. This can happen:

  • upon application from an approval holder
  • on the director’s initiative
  • through an enforcement order

Time limits

Approvals can be issued for a maximum of 10 years, but the Director can set shorter terms. See Section 7 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement (Miscellaneous) Regulation for details.

Plant sites

For information on plant sites that require EPEA registration, see:


Connect with the Regulatory Approvals Centre:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-6311
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]