CAPP’s (under guise of Kenney) review of AER, and dictated deregulation to enhance profits for companies while walking from more responsibilities, on track?

Initiated after Kenney slashed $103 Million from AER’s budget? Predetermined outcome ordained by CAPP et al that taxpayers must donate more millions of dollars to the richest raping industry in the world, and speed up already speedy approvals, and let companies put less (or no) money into the Orphan Well Farce of a Plan and walk from all clean up and frac’d aquifers?

Kenney initiates review into Alberta Energy Regulator by Chris Varcoe, July 15, 2019, Calgary Herald

The Alberta Energy Regulator has so many issues to grapple with today that the organization must feel like a juggler at a circus, adding more balls to the act.

It’s dealing with growing industry liability concerns [that AER intentionally set up so as to let companies walk from their responsibilities after raping out billions in profits and contaminating who knows how many water supplies, lands, etc], reports about executives’ travel, an investigation into a non-profit centre it helped found, and a UCP campaign promise to turf its board.

Now, it’s about to be put under the microscope of a government review. [Preordained outcome as ordered by cry baby CAPP to increase deregulation (while lying to the public) to enable more efficient rape and abuse of Alberta and Albertans while giving billion dollar profiting companies more billions from taxpayers in cash, freebies, and ability to walk from clean up and more?]

In an interview, Premier Jason Kenney said he’s asked Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon to evaluate the organization.

“Our view is that it has not achieved its promise from when it was first created — that timelines for project approvals in Alberta are unacceptably long [half a day is unacceptably long?] and also that the fees charged to Alberta energy producers are unacceptably high,” the premier said. [More than $300 Billion in escalating clean up liabilities in Alberta is not generous enough? ]

“So that’s why I have mandated ministers Savage and Nixon with conducting a full review of the AER.” [Farcical. CAPP will do the review (or has done it already) and dictate what protections for Albertans and their environment need to be decimated next to enhance more billions in profits for multinationals and China, and pretend the govt did it]

The AER has been at the centre of a barrage of headlines over the past year, from reports it paid for flights for some executives who live outside Alberta, to questions about the growing number and financial liability of abandoned wells, to the resignation of former CEO Jim Ellis last November.

The International Centre of Regulatory Excellence (ICORE) — a separate not-for-profit organization the AER said it was a “founding member” of in June 2017 — is now under review by Alberta’s Public Interest Commissioner and the auditor general.

“The Public Interest Commissioner is investigating allegations of gross mismanagement relating to the use of public funds, public assets and AER human resources to establish and support the operation of (ICORE),” the commissioner’s office said in a statement Friday.

The regulator is also under financial pressure.

AER chief executive Gord Lambert sent an email to staff last month, saying the organization is reviewing its business model and taking steps to “increase oversight on spending.”

“It is anticipated the AER will be required to reduce costs,” another email states. [After years of Ex Encana VP Gerard Protti and Jim Ellis siphoning money elsewhere or directing it to be siphoned elsewhere?]

(The regulator, which has about 1,200 employees, is funded by a $253-million administrative levy collected from the industry.)

During the spring election, the organization found itself under fire from the United Conservative Party. [For show to get votes and set the path for more rape & pillage by industry?]

Kenney frequently blasted the previous NDP government for appointing Ed Whittingham, a former executive director of the environmental think-tank Pembina Institute, to the board.

The UCP’s campaign platform contains a critique of the independent [One of the words most misused/over-regurgitated by NGOs and media, even alternate media like The Narwhal. The AER is controlled by CAPP, industry funding and a few big companies like Encana and CNRL. There is nothing independent about the AER. Even Pembina Institute/Ed Witthingham dance CAPP’s taps.] regulator, while promising to appoint a new board of directors.

Whittingham resigned earlier this spring, while four other board members remain in place.

(Lambert and AER board chair Shelia O’Brien declined interview requests on Friday.)

The energy minister said the government’s examination will be done swiftly. [Roaring laughter! Of course it will! As in past premier victories, Encana/CAPP likely prepared Kenney’s marching orders long before the election (as well as Notley’s)]

“We are going to be doing a full review of the mandate, the governance, the timelines, how they review projects,” Savage said in an interview.

“I think we can get that done in the fall . . . We are looking at tweaks. We are not saying the AER is broken, but there is room for some improvements.” [Deregulate! Deregulate! Deregulate! Multinational CEOs and investors want all of the last dregs and leave all of the clean up to foolish greedy blindfolded Albertans.]

As for firing the entire board, the minister said that would not happen immediately.

“There is no timeline on when that board is replaced,” Savage added.

For the industry, one of the biggest issues about the regulator is the length of time it takes to get major projects and wells through the approval process.

The UCP government has pledged to shorten it up, citing statistics from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers [And there it is, plain for all to see.] that it takes longer in Alberta to get wells approved than in B.C., Saskatchewan and U.S. jurisdictions. [CAPP stats and statements are not believable or trustworthy. CAPP lies, often. What other reason would companies have for paying the dreadfully high fees to be members of industry’s deregulator club that Ex Encana VP/Ex AER Chair Gerard Protti created?]

“There are things the AER does exceptionally well. I think when you start to go to things that feel a little more non-routine [like companies blatantly violating laws and regulations, and abusing the environment, Alberta families and communities, so much so that citizens and landowners file objections and gather their courage to tell media?], suddenly timelines extend,” said Enerplus Corp. CEO Ian Dundas. [“Suddenly?” It’s the companies’ own greed and abusive behaviours that make projects go non-routine. Regardless, non-routine means nothing in Alberta. Encana’s non-routine application under Ernst’s already frac’d and dangerously contaminated land was approved by the regulator in half a day, which provides no time for any Albertan to protect themselves, their loved ones and businesses/farms, and certainly not enough time to hire a lawyer.]

Asked what are the problems in the organization, Savage rattled them off like someone reading an eye exam.

“They take too long. There’s too much red tape. There’s too much process. They’re not getting to decisions fast enough. So to understand why, you need to understand what their mandate is, what their governance is, what their internal processes are,” [Aka, what CAPP ordered!] she said.

While a review by a new government isn’t unusual, it also wasn’t widely known by industry or environmental groups contacted last week — and it hasn’t yet included the AER itself.

“The AER has not been involved in any review of the AER conducted by the government,” said a statement from the regulator.

Savage’s press secretary said the process hasn’t started yet, which is why the agency, industry and other organizations aren’t yet aware of the details.

But industry groups welcomed the government’s examination. [Which tells us who is running the review!]

“I do think a more thoughtful and comprehensive review of the AER needs to be undertaken, which would include the role of the board, but also the role of the organization itself,” said CAPP vice-president Ben Brunnen.

Tristan Goodman, head of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, said the regulator “needs to improve its culture” and ensure each activity it does focuses on its core legislated mandate. [Break the law and violate Canada’s Charter, as often as possible?]

Given the array of issues surrounding the regulator, it’s wise the government look into any problems, as long as the process doesn’t become political, drag on or interfere with its independence. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

But the AER is simply too important for any Alberta government to ignore, or to allow any problems to fester. [Except it’s fine for the deregulator to allow companies to exponentially escalate pollution, health harms, tax evasion, bankruptcies (enabled for decades by AER and it’s ancestors), infrastructure destruction and walking from responsibilities after raking in the profits.]

Six years after the organization was launched, it’s time for a thoughtful, measured study of the province’s energy regulator. [Aka, industry’s deregulator]

Refer also to:

Tweet by The Globe & Mail’s Jeff Jones from

BNN Interviews Alberta Oil Patch Consultant Brent Nimeck on Lexin and AER’s Orphan Wells: “This problem is 30 years in the making. … I would call it a Ponzi Scheme…. This is an orchestrated fraud from multiple angles: Industry, CAPP and the Alberta Energy Regulator have enabled this to happen. … Through our independent analysis and we’ve confirmed this at multiple sources within the energy regulator, the liabilities are over $300 billion. That’s what’s on the hook for Alberta taxpayers right now – $300 billion.”

More corporate welfare stench! 65,000 shallow gas wells qualify to get more than $23M in freebies from taxpayers. Again, not a penny for Albertans suffering frac quake damages, drinking water loss/contamination, health harm, loss of livestock etc.

AER too corrupt to stay alive? Why $100M in budget cuts? Just another Kenney/AER/CAPP scam to take more money from Alberta taxpayers?

Retweet from:

Drilling, Frac’ing, Mining, Spills, Corporate Law Violations & Toxic Waste Dumping Everywhere with Water Gone or Gone Bad Everywhere too. Where are the courts? Busy gagging the harmed, protecting the water abusers and their enablers – the “regulators.”

Premier Jason Kenney gives oil & gas industry $30 million gift from taxpayers to attack concerned citizens courageous enough to speak out, Gives not one penny to fix Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers frac’d illegally by Encana, covered-up by “No Duty of Care” AER

Falling for AER/ERCB/EUB (industry)’s scam, decade after decade: AER, Surface Rights Board, Orphan Well Association bamboozling (synergizing) Albertans about Trident Exploration walking from it’s environmental and financial obligations in CMAG Synergy meeting, June 25, 2019

2016 AER Admin Fees, CAPP a Begging: What Fresh Hell is This? Research to Con the Public to give Social Licence While Wiping out Legal Liability for Companies?

AER, Alberta’s new energy regulator seeks the world’s trust, as Alberta’s caprock is frac’d “to Hell”

Sputtering laughter! Watch the news clip! Jason Kenney’s corporate welfare war room launches $2.5M inquiry into magic land

Oil-patch evangelicals: How Christianity and crude fueled the rise of the American right by Darren Dochuk, July 15, 2019, Washington Post

As President Trump’s populist appointees continue to deregulate the mineral-rich lands of the American West, approve pipelines and diminish oversight of fracking, the region’s independent oil and gas producers are riding high. … Self-made entrepreneurs and organizations such as the Independent Petroleum Association of America are quite literally laughing at their good fortune.

By invoking God, Pence tapped this oil patch’s homegrown religiosity: a blend of fervent libertarianism, “traditional” family values and religious nationalism that fuels the Republican right. This mingling of oil and faith in a fiercely individualistic wildcat ethos has long extended beyond the realm of business to shape a distinctive strain of American Christianity, one that the White House seeks to marshal for political gain. [Just like Steve Harper’s Scheer and Kenney?]

They heralded church autonomy and gospel teachings about prosperity and end times, a message that anticipated the violent disruptions of the oil age and the need to save souls and reap God’s — and the earth’s — riches before the world’s end.

They also pledged oil money for religious-right initiatives that promised to bring their fuel and family values to the White House and restore the nation’s founding (“Christian”) roots. …

One of the biggest boosters of evangelical oil culture was the Hunt family of East Texas. H.L. Hunt’s son Bunker was unmatched in his giving. He endorsed Bill Bright’s Campus Crusade for Christ, which proposed a $1 billion venture to proselytize youths, and wrote checks for Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer, whose 1979 manifesto “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” sparked evangelicals’ antiabortion crusade.

But nothing triggered Hunt and his peers’ rage more than the fuel-and-family politics of President Jimmy Carter. The president’s support of the Equal Rights Amendment and abortion rights infuriated them. Carter’s infamous “Malaise” speech, delivered 40 years ago today, was equally damning in their eyes. In this dour homily, Carter bemoaned the nation’s high-energy consumption and lack of conservation.

Over the course of the next year, Ronald Reagan inflamed their anger with his hard-driving quest for the presidency. Running on the slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again,” Reagan won the hearts and minds of the American oil patch. “[We] must remove government obstacles to energy production,” [Aka, deregulate to rape America] he declared when he announced his candidacy. “It is no program simply to say ‘use less energy.’ ”

Malaise had no place in Reagan’s vocabulary. Exuding an audacity that the oil patch embraced, he traveled to Texas and mingled with preachers and petroleum kings, promising them that the nation would be great again as soon as Washington bureaucrats let rugged wildcatters open up new frontiers of extractive wealth and God-fearing pioneers raise their children in communities calibrated to the morals of an honorable past. In the pulpits and pews of the Southwest, Reagan’s calls for Washington to protect local oil producers’ rights to drill, drill, drill were a potent and effective rallying cry that has since become a staple of the Republican Party.

As they look ahead to 2020, Trump and his running mate know that they have to nurture that same spirit.

2019 07 13: This Land Was Your Land, Federal agencies have been captured by the very industries they should be regulating by Christopher Ketcham, author of forthcoming book “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption Are Ruining the American West.”

You might also end up talking with Leslie Hagenstein, a nurse practitioner who grew up in Pinedale, Wyo., in the Upper Green River Valley, and who practiced there for close to 40 years. I sat in her living room in the house she was raised in on a September evening, looking out the window at a fracking well a half-mile away that was drilled in the final months of the Obama administration.

The drill bit thumped and pounded for close to a year. Her house shook. The noise, the tremors and glaring klieg lights left her sleepless. She complained. She says the company and the B.L.M. ignored her.

The well sits on an area called the Mesa Breaks, public land. When she was a young woman in Pinedale, the B.L.M. designated the Mesa Breaks a critical wildlife corridor for wintering mule deer and pronghorn, and barred all energy exploration there.

“It’s rape and pillage now,” she told me. Now? Liberals pathologically allegiant to the Democratic Party want to blame Donald Trump for it all, as if history began in 2017. Don’t be fooled. Gas drilling in the Upper Green River Valley began under Bill Clinton, accelerated under George W. Bush, continued under Barack Obama and has accelerated again under President Trump.

The Upper Green River Valley once had some of the cleanest air in the country. The energy industry brought its armadas of diesel trucks, drilled with abandon, laid its pipelines and dumped the fracked wastewater in toxic evaporation pits where once there had been sagebrush that was habitat for endangered sage grouse.

The air filled with volatile organic compounds, the contaminants associated with fracking and with nitrogen oxides from diesel engines. Now the ozone pollution cooked out of that brew by the Wyoming sun forms a veil of smog.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars stolen will it take for Albertans to heed the truth instead of lies by CAPP/AER/EUB/ERCB and politicians?

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