NDP Royalty Fraud? 3rd most profitable industry in the world assembles crack team to ‘quietly’ seek more subsidies, loyal media cheers. Alberta’s Big Oil Bias: Billions in subsidies & lies for oil, gas, bitumen, frac’ing; $5 million for municipal solar, $0.5 million for farm solar, $0 for home solar, $0 for the many poisoned by oil & gas, $0 for families with frac health harms, 0$ for contaminated or lost water

2016 History of oil and gas royalities in Alberta, to Notley's review

2015 05 18: Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF, ‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3tn subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments The Guardian

[Are subsidies, including the scam of carbon taxes that only benefit polluting companies and their corrupt enablers (especially in Alberta and BC), the real reason for the massive frauds, lies, cover-ups by academics (most notable in Canada: Council of Canadian Academies frac panel) regulators and politicians to keep enabling more and more devastation by fracing with more and more massive deregulation while lying to the public and harmed, promising enhancing/creating regulations to make fracing safe?]

2015 05 19: A costly mistake, Energy subsidies do not just gobble money. They help cook the planet too The Economist

BIG mistakes in economic policy making abound. But it would be hard to find a worse one than energy subsidies. Recent research has shown that they enrich middlemen, depress economic output and help the rich, who use lots of energy, more than they do the poor. [Mistake or intentional?]

…the authors reckon that the total drag on the global economy caused by fuel subsidies now amounts to a stonking $5.3 trillion each year, or 6% of global GDP—more than world spends on health care. Poorer countries dole out the largest amount of subsidies; some spend up to 18% of their GDP a year on them. The lion’s share goes to coal, the most polluting fuel. By contrast renewable-energy subsidies, mainly given out in the rich world, amount to a mere $120 billion. And they would vanish if fossil fuels were taxed properly. [Emphasis added]


China is the biggest contributor to global energy subsidies that the International Monetary Fund estimates at $5.3 trillion, equivalent to 6.5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. China tops the list in dollar terms, the Ukraine as a percentage of gross domestic product and Qatar as measured per capita, the IMF said in a July 17 report.

 ‘Most energy subsidies arise from the failure to adequately charge for the cost of domestic environmental damage,’ the IMF said in the report.

‘The fiscal, environmental, and welfare impacts of energy subsidy reform are potentially enormous.’ [Emphasis added]


As world leaders converge on New York for a United Nations gathering that’s expected to have a strong emphasis on climate change, the [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] is pointing out 800 ways rich industrial nations support fossil fuels with taxpayer money, along with a handful of countries that are catching up quickly. [Emphasis added]

2015: The 15 Most Profitable Industries Forbes

Oil and gas extraction maintains its third place spot as America’s domestic production of oil and shale gas continues to increase and energy imports decline. The profit margin increased from 15.1% to 16.4%.

No. 2 Legal Services Net Profit Margin: 17.8%

Legal services topped last year’s list with a profit margin of 18.3% but falls down to second this year with a 17.8% margin. Despite the small dip, the industry’s overhead costs remain low. There’s little need for heavy investment costs, other than salaries, and demand is constant.

[And how much of legal services profits are oil and gas industry harm and pollution caused: fighting responsibility, accountability, clean up, data disclosure, trials and restitution? Emphasis added]

Alberta oil industry needs ‘man on the moon’ vision: former executive by Gary Lamphier, Calgary Herald, 30 July 2015; Edmonton Journal, 1 August 2015

These are dark days for Alberta’s energy industry. If anything, the outlook seems to grow more depressing by the week. Any lingering hopes for a quick rebound in oil prices have been crushed…

….an industry that’s literally fighting for its life.

… Mitton, de Bever and more than a dozen other influential players, inside and outside of the province’s oil industry, are quietly working behind the scenes to advance their agenda. They want the province to be as focused on improving the industry’s economic viability [aka demanding more subsidies and handouts which is exactly what the Royalty Review Panel and Notley et al gave them, by lowering royalty rates, including carbon tax as cost, and increasing subsidies] and boosting innovation as it is now on improving energy royalties and curbing carbon emissions.

To advance the cause, they met recently at the Calgary offices of an innovative oilsands junior, Oak Point Energy — where de Bever is chairman — to map out a game plan.

Besides de Bever, …the group included veteran Calgary oilman Jim Gray, University of Calgary president Elizabeth Cannon, Ernst & Young Orenda chief Barry Munro, and James Cleland, global general manager of General Electric’s GE Heavy Oil Solutions division.

…Judy Fairburn, chair of Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, attended the meeting in Calgary. De Bever says she understands the issues and is keen to encourage more collaboration between government, industry, academia and financial sources of support. [Emphasis added]

2015 07 17: Seize the day, The fall in the price of oil and gas provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix bad energy policies by The Economist

The plunging price of oil, coupled with advances in clean energy and conservation, offers politicians around the world the chance to rationalise energy policy. They can get rid of billions of dollars of distorting subsidies, especially for dirty fuels, whilst shifting taxes towards carbon use. A cheaper, greener and more reliable energy future could be within reach.

The most straightforward piece of reform, pretty much everywhere, is simply to remove all the subsidies for producing or consuming fossil fuels. Last year governments around the world threw $550 billion down that rathole—on everything from holding down the price of petrol in poor countries to encouraging companies to search for oil. By one count, such handouts led to extra consumption that was responsible for 36% of global carbon emissions in 1980-2010. [Emphasis added]

PA Fossil Fuel Subsidy Report

PA dishes out $3.3 billion in fossil fuels subsidies while state faces $1.5 billion deficit

PA Fossil Fuel Subsidies that could be quantified in fiscal year 2012/2013 total $3,256,593,027.

With that amount, PA could:

· Pay tuition and room and board for *170,000* Pennsylvania High School Graduates to attend college.

· Fund the annual repair or replacement of *2000* of Pennsylvania’s backlog of structurally deficient bridges.

· Install solar panels on *123,000* Pennsylvania homes.

· Pay the annual salary of *50,000* Pennsylvania School teachers.

2015 11: Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production Oil Change International and Overseas Development Institute


COUNTRY STUDIES: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China ,France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia,Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

Empty promises: Appendix 2 data base (.xls)

Back in 2009, leaders of the G20 countries pledged to phase-out ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies. Indeed, few subsidies are more inefficient than those to fossil fuel production. Yet the evidence presented in this report points to a large gap between G20 commitment and action. That gap is reflected in $452 billion in average annual subsidies from G20 governments to fossil fuel production in 2013 and 2014. To put this figure in context, it is almost four times the amount that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates was provided in all global subsidies to renewables in 2013.

This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies.

… Governments in the G20 and beyond should act immediately to phase-out subsidies to fossil fuel production. [Emphasis added]

Psst, Trudeau: IMF Now Pegs Our Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $46 Billion, Fastest way to transition Canada to a green economy? Quit the giveaways The Tyee

According to IMF economists, Canadian carbon-based fuels should be taxed an additional $17.2 billion annually to compensate for climate change, $6 billion for air pollution, $14.9 billion for traffic congestion and $2.1 for traffic accidents. Tacking on another $3.5 billion for uncollected value-added taxes, $880 million for road damage and of course the $1.4 billion in direct subsidies, we arrive at almost $50 billion annually that could help transition to a greener economy. 


[A few questions:

How much for water contamination and permanent loss from fracing?

How much for the endless unpaid leases & damages by greedy companies walking away from their responsibilities via changing names and bankruptcies in Alberta and elsewhere?

How many billions ahead in TILMA, NAFTA, FIPA, TPP, CETA lawsuits when provinces or Canada implement new laws to protect Canadians from the phenomenal frac quakes and tarsands harms that are becoming more and more impossible to propagandize away?

How many trillions will Canadians have to pay when the endless frac health and water harms require jurisdictions to shut fracing down, forever, or die of thirst?

How much for permanent food land loss by frac and drilling waste spills and intentional dumping?

How much for destruction of homes, rendered too toxic or too explosive to live in?

And who is going to end up paying for the many hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells, leaking hydrocarbons into groundwater and the surface?]


IMF Pegs Canada’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $34 Billion

In such giveaways we’re a world leader, a fact rarely noted when federal budgets are debated.

Justin Trudeau has a problem. How can Canada meet our international climate commitments so recently inked in Paris with an increasingly empty economic larder? [Courtesy Harper & Encana et al] The International Monetary Fund may have the answer. Last summer, the IMF updated its global report on energy subsidies and found that Canada provides a whopping $46.4 billion in subsidies to the energy sector in either direct support or uncollected taxes on externalized costs.

Globally, this figure balloons to US$5.3 trillion or 6.5 per cent of the world’s GDP. To put that enormous sum in perspective, the global giveaway to the energy sector amounts to 40 times more money than is contributed in aid to the world’s poorest people.

And what could Canada do with another $46 billion each year? In terms of badly needed public transit, we could immediately pay for both the new Broadway SkyTrain line and the Bloor Street subway extension in Toronto, and still have $40 billion left over. There are also 120 kilometres of proposed light rail projects in the country we could finally build and only be down to $35 billion. Remember, these badly needed infrastructure investments are one-time expenses and the subsidies identified by the IMF rack up every year.

Other urgent needs include building and maintaining affordable housing, estimated to be about $3 billion annually. The public portion of a national pharmacare program might amount to an extra $1 billion each year (though it could also save us money too). That still leaves billions of annual public revenue that could provide tax relief to those shifting away from fossil fuels as well as transition training for displaced workers in our beleaguered oil sector.

So is Ottawa going to eliminate all $48 billion in giveaways identified by the IMF? Of course not. 

But shouldn’t we be going easy on the fossil fuel industry, which is obviously going through some hard times? Nonsense. Of course we need to scale up support for the thousands of workers displaced from a collapsing oilsands sector and help them transition to more sustainable [and healthier, safer] careers. But the corporate entities masquerading as humans under the law and their investors that made bad bets on global commodity prices should take their lumps in the marketplace like the proud free traders they are.

… Trudeau has so far taken the Canadian political scene by storm, and he should continue to act boldly on the energy-pricing file. [Emphasis added]

2016 02 05: Rainy Days in Alberta Whose Saved Nothing to Cope With It. Time to Cutback, Diversify and Change The Mud Report

2016 02 05: How much output has the worst oil slump in decades halted? Just 0.1%, much of it in Canada [How Stupid is that?] Financial Post

Even as millions of barrels of oil are pumped at a loss at current prices, only a fraction of the production has been shut, industry research group Wood Mackenzie said on Friday. Only 0.1 per cent of global production has been curtailed because it’s unprofitable, according to the report that highlights the industry’s resilience.

The analysis, published ahead of an annual oil-industry gathering in London next week, suggests that oil prices will need to drop even more — or stay low for a lot longer — to meaningfully reduce global production.

OPEC and major oil companies like BP Plc and Occidental Petroleum Corp. are betting that low oil prices will drive production down, eventually lifting prices. That’s taking longer than expected, in part due to the resilience of the U.S. shale industry and slumping currencies in oil-rich countries, which have lowered production costs in nations from Russia to Brazil.

Just 100,000 bpd out of the 96.1 million bpd of oil pumped worldwide have been closed so far since the price plunge, most of it in Canada’s oil sands, conventional U.S. projects and aging fields in Britain’s North Sea, according to the research. [And federal and provincial governments are helping pimp bitumen pipelines to cross the country for export?  How many billions will Canadians have to pay to subsidize them?  How many more billions for health, spill and explosion damages ahead? How Stupid is that?]

The bulk of the most expensive to produce oil is in Canada, where 2.2 million bpd is “cash negative” at current prices, most of it in oil sands and small conventional wells. An additional 230,000 bpd in is Venezuela’s heavy oil fields, and 220,000 bpd is in the United Kingdom.

Those operators, Wood Mackenzie said, were likely to store their oil to sell later, only shutting fields if mechanical or maintenance problems required investments they “can’t rationalize” at current prices.

For major oil companies, a few months of losses may make more sense than paying to dismantle an offshore platform in the North Sea, or stopping and restarting a tar-sands project in Canada, which may take months and cost millions of dollars. “There are barriers to exit,” said Plummer.

In the United States the research found that aggressive cost cutting [What’s that doing to the subsurface, aquifers, environment, homes, communities, health?] had enabled more of the shale plays to make money [on subsidies & hedging?] — and survive — at lower prices. [Emphasis added]


Does such a dishonest “opinion” belong in a formal royalty review regarding billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil and gas industry, get out of jail free cards, and rock bottom give-aways of Alberta resources?

What’s the NDP and panel afraid of?  People around the world reading Slick Water, Andrew Nikiforuk’s new book on frac’ing that covers some of the Ernst vs Encana lawsuit?

Page 20:

As a partner, the Province brings many things to the table, including:

– Rule of law – Our province is a safe and stable place that has a functioning democracy, independent courts, a trustworthy justice system and the rule of law.

[What good is the rule of law when oil and gas companies routinely break the law with regulators and Alberta government ignoring these law violations, or if citizens speak out publicly, fraudulently cover-up and enable them and the resulting harms and contamination?

Where is the rule of law in Alberta failing to file criminal charges against Encana for illegally fracturing multiple drinking water aquifers and contaminating the water supply?]


Opinion: Royalty decision compounds past mistakes by Reagan Boychuk, February 7, 2016, Edmonton Journal

Albertans have just had their back ends loaded.

Early last September, before any of the royalty review’s town halls or expert group meetings, the panel met with industry in Calgary.

Panel chair Dave Mowat suggested the royalty regime could be simplified while still keeping the feature of a “back end loaded” system, and asked the oilpatch’s help figuring out how.

After months of apparent theatre, the royalty review didn’t just keep all of the royalty cuts that plunged one of the world’s leading oil and gas producers into ongoing deficits. It actually expanded and made them permanent.

Albertans should be very concerned.

‘Back end loaded’ royalties mean oil companies get paid first and fastest, with only token royalty payments until all their drilling and fracking costs have been paid with free oil and gas.

This shifts remaining risk onto Albertans, who have to wait second-in-line for many years to recoup their (dwindling) share of the wealth generated from their resources.

This perverse setup is the legacy of the last royalty review in 2010, when a desperate Progressive Conservative dynasty threw billions in free oil and gas at industry to win back their favour after the 2007 review.

The first and only time Alberta ever had an independent and public review of royalties was in 2007. What it found was not flattering for oil and gas companies who’d pocketed hundreds of billions of dollars in excess profits under Progressive Conservative governments.

The PCs watered down the 2007 panel’s recommendations so much Alberta never actually collected a bigger share of our resource wealth, but industry was livid we ever threatened their outsized profits and poured resources into the Wildrose party. [Nice gratitude eh?]

“The royalty review was critical to the rise of Wildrose,” Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Brat told a reporter in 2012. “That’s when the money started to flow to the Wildrose. … It gave them some anger to work with. They mobilized.”

Barely a month after the Wildrose nearly matched their fundraising for the March 2008 election, the PCs cut royalties $1.2 billion over five years.

In October 2008, the Wildrose elected a new leader and the next month the PCs cut royalties another $1.8 billion over five years.

With the Wildrose passing the PCs in the polls, March 2009 brought yet another $1.5 billion in royalty cuts.

Still, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the jilted oilpatch. Another royalty review was convened — this time excluding the public.

The multibillion dollar royalty cuts that came from behind closed doors in 2010 have left the province broke. And the NDP just made them permanent. Even worse, their new royalty regime explicitly emulates a revenue-minus-cost model, which has almost always been a failure.

As former Alberta Energy executive director Barry Rodgers warned in a Sept. 2015 report: “Having studied some 500 of the world’s oil and gas fiscal systems for 156 countries and 245 separate jurisdictions it is safe to say (revenue minus cost) has been the single biggest cause of governments actually capturing far less of their resource revenues than they first expected, and deserved.”

Regan Boychuk is an independent researcher and was a member of recent review’s oilsands expert group. [Emphasis added]

2016 02 02: Critics Slam Alberta’s New Royalty Review as Policy Disaster by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee

The recommendation of an Alberta review panel not to raise royalty rates paid by oil and gas companies to the province is an economic disaster and represents a capitulation to Big Oil and its financial backers, say a variety of critics.

Released last Friday, a five-month review into the royalty system argued that low global oil prices had placed Alberta in an existential quandary and that no increases should be considered in royalty rates.

Royalty rates are not costs or taxes, but a price a company must pay to the owner for the right to develop the resource.

For 35 years, the former Tory government of Alberta consistently lowered royalty rates to among the lowest in the world. At the same time it saved almost nothing for future generations.  

But the long-delayed review, commissioned by the new NDP government in 2015 as the result of an election promise, concluded that the “current share of value Albertans receive from our resources is generally appropriate.”

The review added that Albertans should stop focusing “on questions of ‘are the rates right,'” and look more “on what changes need to be made to our royalty framework to position Alberta and our energy industry to address the challenges of a very different environment and outlook for the future.” [More deregulation for the unconventional oil and gas ‘n frac industry?]

Such a policy, if adopted, would lower Alberta’s royalties by another billion dollars a year, estimated Jim Roy, an Edmonton-based royalty consultant and a former senior advisor on royalty policy for Alberta Energy.

The new generic rate will reduce the current 30 per cent royalty rates for high-valued products such as propane and butane to five per cent.

Alberta’s total royalty revenues from hydrocarbons in fiscal year 2015/16 were approximately $2.8 billion — a mammoth decrease from modest highs of $10 billion or more during the boom years.

Investor, not owner friendly: expert

Roy said the government’s review is completely off base and doesn’t address the real issues.  

“We have low prices now. Why encourage more production and more investment which will only bring oil prices lower?” [And masses more harms to already heavily harmed rural Albertans?] asked Roy.

Given that the global oil glut has largely been caused by overproduction by Canadian bitumen miners and U.S. oil shale frackers, Alberta should increase royalties to decrease production and thereby eliminate inefficient and high-cost energy extractors, Roy said.

Since 1998, oil sands production has soared from nearly 800,000 barrels a day to more than 2.3 million barrels a day, largely due to cheap credit, low royalties and other government incentives and subsidies.

Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the province has also been driven by a three-year royalty moratorium imposed in 2009. That royalty holiday guarantees companies high returns up front and little for the owner of the resource until the well is exhausted.

Fracked wells typically experience 60 to 80 per cent depletion rates after three years of operation.

The review takes the perspective of an investor, not the perspective of an owner, charged Roy. “In order to optimize returns to Albertans, the government needs to think like an owner,” added the royalty expert.

Two of the review panel’s key members — Dave Mowat, president of the Alberta Treasury Branch and Peter Tertzakian, managing director of Arc Financial Corp — both work for firms that invest billions in the oil patch.

The panel’s analysis, according to Roy, “ignores the effect of increased production of Alberta bitumen on either the local price of bitumen or the world price of oil. The plan appears to be to increase Alberta production at the maximum possible rate despite low prices… This strategy may help American consumers, but does not help Alberta owners.”

Roy’s analysis, reported in The Tyee last year, found that the province’s last royalty review in 2007 actually shorted the province more than $12 billion in royalties during a time of high oil prices.

Former premier Ed Stelmach promised Albertans that the new formulas for calculating royalties would increase Alberta’s “fair share” of hydrocarbon profits by $2 billion a year, beginning in 2009.

But that didn’t happen. Instead of increasing royalties by $2 billion a year, Alberta’s “fair share” plummeted due to bad forecasting and major flaws in how the province collects natural gas and bitumen royalties, Roy said.

As a result the province, which has recorded annual deficits of billions, has failed to collect $12 billion in royalties over the last five years, he said. The new review failed to correct those problems, Roy added.

In 2010, an industry-drafted, behind-closed-doors “Competitiveness Review” further eviscerated recommended increases and made rates lower than they were before the 2007 during a period of high oil prices.

‘Shockingly bad,’ says researcher

Regan Boychuk, an independent researcher who sat on one of the review’s advisory expert panels, called the review’s conclusions “shockingly bad.”

“The review simply rearranges the chairs on the deck of the Titantic and locks in all the bad decisions and Tory giveaways of the past,” he said.

One critic interviewed by The Tyee also said that raising royalties wouldn’t affect economic activity because the worldwide average government take is already about 60 per cent.

In Alberta, the share has plummeted from a 40 per cent high during the Peter Lougheed years to less than four per cent today.

Increasing very low royalties in fiscal systems that have a low overall government take will not have any significant impact on the competitive position of such resources, said analysts.

Low royalties ‘a foot on the accelerator’ [Rachel Notley = Ralph Klein?]

Barry Rodgers, a former high-ranking Alberta civil servant in the Department of Energy and a fiscal systems expert, noted the review barely mentions that the former Tory government consistently failed to save revenue (except under Lougheed), collect its fair share as mandated by the government policy, or report to citizens in a transparent and open manner on royalty issues.

Instead the Tories consistently lowered royalties during periods of price volatility, resulting in a downward trend for royalties over the last 35 years.

These low prices, which guaranteed companies easy returns regardless of their performance [Illegally fracturing community drinking water aquifers?], actively contributed to over production, reduced competitiveness and encouraged little or no innovation. Low royalties also overheated the economy.


Source: Rodgers Oil and Gas Consulting.

According to Rodgers, the current royalty review got off to a bad start by assuming that Alberta’s royalty system worked well and just needed some fine-tuning. [Bad start or intentionally set up by Notley to do precisely that?]

But the province’s royalty system is broken, he argued, and has been causing serious damage by subsidizing uneconomic activity. The report even notes that 27 oil sands projects, which inefficiently inject steam into the ground to melt bitumen, may never reach payout “due to excessive cost overruns.”

The new review also repeats mistakes of past royalty reviews, which repeatedly responded to earlier price collapses by lowering royalties, Rodgers said.

These low royalties, in turn, stabilized economic activity but became dismal failures when commodity prices began to rise again. Oil remains the world’s most volatile commodity.

“The lower royalties then acted like a foot on the accelerator,” explained Rodgers, “at a time when prices were already high enough to attract the levels of investment needed.”

In the process, low royalties served as a hyper growth policy that aggressively pushed into existence large, long-lived projects “that are difficult to stop and start in response to commodity price fluctuations.”

The province’s chronic low royalties also caused another problem, he said: as a declining royalty share became significant enough, it caused the public to “distrust in the resource management system.”

In other words, low royalties made it impossible for the government to earn extra revenue when prices were high and deprived the owners of the resource their fair share.

The only way for Alberta to break this disastrous royalty pattern is to slow down development, said Rodgers, as well as curtail extreme projects that need royalty relief by increasing royalties in a system that saves wealth in trust for future generations.

Alberta’s royalty policy, said Rodgers, is not consistent with the fundamental resource and environmental management notion of “In-Trust.”

That notion, long abandoned by the Tory party, reflects the principle “that current generations have a moral obligation to not leave future generations worse off.”

Missing comparisons

Although the review claimed that Alberta’s royalty rates are comparable to other jurisdictions, it failed to compare Alberta to the jurisdictions that matter most such as Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. The review, for example, makes but one mention of Norway.

Boychuk also said that the review failed to provide true comparisons that took a critical look at real government pricing around the world.

To gauge the appropriateness of bitumen royalty rates, for example, the review hired Wood Mackenzie, a firm that advises oil and gas companies.

It based its conclusions that current rates were adequate on the imaginary performance of a 35,000-barrel-a-day steam plant operation that might extract bitumen by 2022, Boychuk said.

“That’s not a comparison to real rates that are currently employed by other countries. Wood Mackenzie offered no meaningful comparison with other countries such as Venezuela or Saudi Arabia,” said Boychuk.

According to research by Rodgers, for example, Norway charges resource developers 78 per cent of the net income from oil and gas production while Alberta charges 50 per cent for conventional oil and 37 per cent for natural gas.

The report, however, avoided such comparisons other than noting that British Columbia has the lowest royalties for natural gas and that Saskatchewan managed its hydrocarbons to generate economic activity as opposed to wealth for the resource owners.

Gil McGowan, leader of the Alberta Federation of Labour and a long-time champion of royalty reform, rebuked the NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley for supporting the review.

“Some people say the NDP have come face to face with reality. I say what happened can best be described as the government being captured by industry,” McGowan told Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell.

“I honestly think the government has made a profound political mistake,” he said. “We don’t believe progressive governments have to become conservative to deal effectively with economic issues or to succeed politically. That’s a fallacy.”

In its submission to the royalty review panel, the Fort McMurray First Nation called for modestly higher bitumen royalties and warned the Notley government not to listen to advice offered by financial institutions such as those represented by some members of the review panel.  

“The financial institutions that constitute the capital markets obtain their revenues by providing services to savers and borrowers. Large projects such as in the oil sands, and the companies that invest in them, are valuable revenue sources and attractive clients to these institutions. The inclinations of these institutions will always be to want to see more attractive investment opportunities, from which they will benefit by providing them with financial services. They are not likely to provide unbiased, objective views on matters such as royalties.”

In another submission, the economist Mark Anielski reported how the province would have benefited if it had kept Lougheed’s approach to a robust and healthy royalty regime.

“Had Alberta maintained a 30 per cent royalty rate on the share of the value of the oil and gas produced between 1971 to 2014, Albertans would have generated $471.4 billion in oil and gas royalties. Had 50 per cent of these royalties been invested in the Alberta Heritage Savings and Trust Fund with annual average return of five per cent per annum we would now have an investment account worth over $481 billion.”

The current savings fund holds less than $20 billion. [And how many billions in pollution and health deficits that industry will never take responsibility for, and regulators will never make them?]

From the comments to above article:

Diana Daunheimer annie_fiftyseven

Did our Premier have a frackian slip when she said in her Modern Royalty Review address that “the ground is shifting dramatically?”

annie_fiftyseven Diana Daunheimer

Oh my. Well I’m sure the AER’s PR machine will be quick to address that, and explain that it really wouldn’t feel like anything more than a Protti driving by … smiling and waving … meep meep.

Alberta to offer solar panel rebates to farms, municipalities by  Bob Weber, The Canadian Press, February 5, 2016, Calgary Herald
The Alberta government is adding another plank to its climate-change platform by providing more than $5.5 million to build on programs to help farms and municipalities install solar panels. [What a fracking insult]

“This is just the beginning,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said Friday.

“By investing now in proven programs we will be better prepared to ramp up our efforts as the price on carbon pollution is phased in.”

Up to $5 million is being offered to defray the cost of setting up solar power in buildings such as offices, fire halls and community centres.

A similar program worth $500,000 will be offered to farmers.

The money extends a program already being offered through the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. That program has already helped six Edmonton community leagues install solar panels, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 55 tonnes every year.

The agricultural solar program builds on a pilot that saw 61 projects reduce greenhouse gases by more than 360 tonnes and add almost 500 kW of capacity to Alberta’s electricity grid.

The new money is expected to fund about 160 projects and reduce carbon emissions by up to 8,400 tonnes over the next 25 years.

Phillips noted that an earlier $2 million solar power grant for municipalities was immediately taken up.

“There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and uptake for these kinds of programs,”she said. “It’s very likely that this will not meet all the demand, but it is a way for us to begin ramping up those efforts.”

The program offers rebates of up to 75 cents per watt. According to figures from a provincial report, that’s not quite enough to make the cost of solar power equal to that purchased from the grid.

“It’s intended to provide an incentive,” said Phillips. “It may not equalize, but it’s intended to remove the barriers.”

Farmers will be able to apply for the rebates starting Monday, while municipalities have to wait until March. [Emphasis added]

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