Ensuring Fairness with Environmental Appeals

AB Environment

Three new members and two reappointed members will use their expertise and knowledge to ensure continued impartiality and fairness when it comes to decisions under the Environmental Appeals Board. 

This separate and independent board provides Albertans, conservation groups and industry the opportunity to appeal certain decisions made by Environment and Parks under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and other legislation.

“The board oversees appeals and ensures fair process for all Albertans, so it’s important that we choose members who are experienced and will act in the best interest of the public and the province. With these individuals, I am confident we have achieved exactly that. I am pleased to announce these appointments and I trust all members will continue to use their expertise to support and inform the board’s recommendations.”Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

The board was created more than 25 years ago and hears appeals relating to environmental approvals, water licences, enforcement orders, reclamation and remediation certificates, administrative penalties and environmental protection orders.

Members were chosen by the Public Agency Secretariat following a recruitment process. Board members are generally reappointed for a two- to three-year term, and new board members are normally appointed for a one- to two-year term.

Biographies: New members

Chidinma B. Thompson is a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Calgary. She holds a PhD in law from the Faculty of Law University of Calgary, specializing in natural resources, energy and environment law, and is a trained arbitrator. Ms. Thompson serves on the Canadian Bar Association Environmental Law South Section Board and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Environment and Natural Resources Committee, among others.

Barbara Johnston is a lawyer and chartered professional accountant with expertise in risk management, consumer banking transactions, debt financing, asset acquisition and divestiture and retail resource product network transactions. She has provided legal and business advice and educational services to numerous client groups as in-house counsel for a large integrated resource company, as well as audit financial preparation services for diverse client groups at a large public accounting firm. She holds a bachelor of commerce (accounting) from the University of Calgary and a bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta.   

Kurtis Averill has more than two decades of experience in the natural gas and oil industry. He has extensive knowledge in all stages of project development – from land-use planning, community consultation, exploration and construction, through closure and reclamation. His holistic understanding of the life cycle of oil and gas development and its impact on stakeholders and the environment positions him as a progressive leader in the industry with a proven track record of finding practical solutions to seemingly complex land-use challenges. Mr. Averill has a bachelor of science, graduating from the University of Alberta’s environmental and conservation science program, specializing in land remediation and reclamation.

Biographies: Reappointed members

Dave McGee has expertise in environmental issues, negotiation, government regulatory procedures, and water policy. He has a bachelor of science (geography/geology) from the University of Alberta and 37 years of experience in water management. He has negotiated agreements on landowner and municipal issues, regional water sharing agreements, First Nations settlement agreements, and has represented Alberta on an international joint commission task force in a boundary water dispute. His work has been published, he has presented water governance work to universities and conferences, and he has appeared before joint Canada/Alberta water project hearings and other boards. Mr. McGee was appointed as a member of the Environmental Appeals Board on October 18, 2017, and is cross-appointed to the Public Lands Appeal Board.

Tamara Bews is a lawyer who has practiced primarily in administrative law, commercial law and regulatory compliance for the past 24 years. Over the course of Ms. Bews’ legal career, she has gained a broad range of experience on energy, transportation and agricultural issues. She has worked as a lawyer in both private practice and as in-house legal counsel for TransCanada Pipelines Limited, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Ms. Bews has represented clients in significant regulatory applications before provincial and federal administrative tribunals, and in judicial review applications before the Alberta Court of Appeal. She has acted as a session chair for an energy-related industry conference, and co-developed and co-constructed courses on energy-related issues to professional organizations and post-secondary institutions.

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