In our July issue of Environment@Gowlings, we provided an extensive overview of the draft Regulation to amend the Regulation respecting the application of the Environment Quality Act and draft Regulation respecting the filing of information on certain drilling and fracturing work on gas or petroleum wells, published last May in the Gazette officielle du Québec. On June 8, 2011 these regulations were duly adopted by the Government and they came into force on the day of their publication pursuant to Section 18 of the Regulations Act rather than 15 days following the date of their publication as is usually the case. This is possible where the Government is of the opinion that the urgency of the situation requires it.
In the present case, the Government was of the opinion that the urgency existed due to several factors. First, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks had reasons to believe that drilling work or fracturing operations to explore for or produce natural gas in shale were likely to be carried out at any time as of the date of the Order-in-Council. Second, that during the time normally given following the publication of a regulation, drilling work or fracturing operations may begin without the work being subject to the review procedure provided for in Section 22 of the Environment Quality Act. Lastly, that it was urgent to establish as soon as possible the regulatory standards to make drilling work to explore for, or produce, natural gas in shale and fracturing operations to explore for, or produce, petroleum or natural gas subject to the requirement to first obtain a certificate of authorization pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 22 of the Environment Quality Act, before the next drilling and rock fracturing campaign. It was therefore judged expedient to make the regulations in question. Both regulations were thus published in the Gazette officielle du Québec of June 10, 2010 and therefore came into force at that date. For more details concerning these regulations, we invite you to read the July issue of Environment@Gowlings.