Diana Daunheimer: “It’s clear, the UCP doesn’t give two cents about public health, environmental protection, liability management, property rights, industrial compliance, sustainable water management or emissions mitigation. The UCP are petrol molls, simple as that.”

Excellent comments to the CBC article below, notably those by Diana Daunheimer:

JR follow to John Rock

First place to cut should have been the useless war room. Total waist of $30 MILLION $

Craig Macneil

The conservatives will never wake up to the fact that trickle down economics does not work. How many provinces will they destroy chasing this failed policy

Brett Mclaughlan Reply to @Craig Macneil: and when there is no money left in the cupboard what would you have them do, the public service in Alberta is bloated by near every measure and needs cuts, it is unaffordable

Ashy Larry Reply to @Brett Mclaughlan: No money left in the cupboard? Open a war room for 30+ million, use alberta pension fund to bank roll the o&g industry. Stop defending the cons, they aren’t good for anyone but themselves

Craig Macneil Reply to @Brett Mclaughlan: War room,new areanas,4 billion in tax break for the oil companies etc. Surely you joke.

Curtis Josephson Reply to @Brett Mclaughlan: “The AER — which is funded by a levy charged to Alberta’s energy industry.”

The energy industry has plenty in the cupboard, especially when the Alberta tax payer subsidizes the industry to the tune of 2B in 2019

Brian Lee

Kenney even said they are not monitoring efficiency at the war room. Just handing them money.

Brian Lee

Guess the money went to the war room.

Al Jamison

AER confirms 200 more employees laid off Alberta Energy Regulator’s funding was cut by 22% in the fall budget
You don’t need anyone to enforce regulations that are never enforced, do they?

Brett Mclaughlan Reply to @Al Jamison: do show evidence that they are not enforced. [I have stacks of documented evidence. Alberta Environment does the same as the AER, looks the other way when it’s oil and gas companies breaking the law]

John Darling

“oversees that sector and is expected to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development.”

And this doesn’t look shady at all…what a laugh.

Atticus Winch

Why is The War Room being spared? And by making AER employees disappear is that how we get rid of orphaned wells? Napoleon Kenney gets an ‘F’ for his time as Premier. Unless you’re a departing CEO.

Fox Crow

How many people work there? What do They do? Make sure orphan wells are cleaned up? [ha!]

Steven Scott

With less people the AER will be streamlined and less functional. the ucp will not stop until all services are substandard …… [and all regulations finally deregulated and all laws gone, that on paper were supposed to regulate the oil and gas industry so that the
“regulators” can legally not regulate]

Curtis Josephson Reply to @Steven Scott: Another infrastructure deficit that someone else will have to clean up and pay for.

Jas Morrison

How much of this house cleaning is at the top? This is the agency that is totally responsible for the abandon well mess and needs to be held accountable.

Frank Fretter

Looks like Kenney’s Job Creation Programs are really working. The numbers are really growing. NOT!

Lessa Ryder

AER underling employees are being laid-off but no word from the UCP or the media on what punishment is being meted to the former CEO, Jim Ellis, and the former board of directors for their corruption and mismanagement of the AER. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/aer-alberta-energy-regulator-icore-probes-1.5307866

Iqra Warsan Reply to @Lessa Ryder: What are you expecting? this issue is dead, if it has not happened yet. Kenney will never purse the matter, the iCORE project may be dead but one of their spawn (OneStop) is still being funded by the UCP. The question that non of the media people want to pursue is “why is the AER operating a software house?”. The last i checked they were a regulator and in to making their own software solutions. Did you know the millions we are sending is going to a firm in USA and not to any Albertan companies… how come we are unemployed and AER can easily fill the pockets of USA software firms???

Marlene Lauder Reply to @Lessa Ryder: Ellis padded his own pocket . he should be punished. A lot of people are curious about this situation

Diana Daunheimer Reply to @Lessa Ryder:

The fact of the matter, and of legislation, is that there will be no punishment, for anyone involved with ICORE. Inexplicably, a number of the employees that were complicit in the ICORE scandal were given very generous severance packages from the AER, including Jennifer Steber, to which Ellis promoted to lead of ICORE. Steber left the organization with a $335,000 severance last year, which can be viewed on the Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act under Governance on the AER website.

Under the Responsible Energy and Development Act, the legislation that governs and directs the AER, all employees of the AER are indemnified from their regulatory actions or inactions.

All the employees or Board Directors have to do is plead ignorance (selective amnesia), as Gerry Protti did during the investigations or claim they were acting in good faith, as I imagine almost every other individual involved in ICORE alleged, including Jim Ellis.

“Division 5 Administration
Protection from action
27 No action or proceeding may be brought against the Regulator, a director, a hearing commissioner, an officer or an employee of the Regulator, or a person engaged by the Regulator, in respect of any act or thing done or omitted to be done in good faith under this Act or any other enactment.”

Diana Daunheimer Reply to @Iqra Warsan:

One-step was in the makings before the ICORE scandal, it’s an extension and expansion of the play-based regulations that were being implemented in the Monteney region of NW Alberta. It’s the end game of the AER, complete deregulation, whereby, 90% of industry applications, water licenses, reclamation certificated, etc, are approved automatically without any oversight by employees, and the remainder of non-routine applications, for mega projects, are downsized into one application, which is less prescriptive than what was previously submitted for single well licences.

The AER has always tried to monetize their regulatory processes and applications, as evidenced by the expense disclosure reports and AER Annual Reports. Is it ethical? Not really, but the AER, under REDA is indemnified from all their regulatory actions or inactions. This is a corporation, that is not an agent of the Crown, owes no duty of care to the public, operates with no public interest, or public health mandate and is not beholden to the Public Service Act. So you can expect that many of the functions of the provincial regulator are not above board, as they have no legislative obligation to act in the public interest, and no threat of prosecution if they fail their mandated duties.

The AER also paid Penn State U, nearly $2million dollars in/around 2015 for a “best-in-class” report, and tens of millions have been wasted on other frivolous side projects, exorbitant expenses from VP’s and unethical synergy affiliations, all while liability management, public health and environmental protections are being intentionally disregarded.

Iqra Warsan Reply to @Diana Daunheimer: I have been informed that the Government of Alberta has allocated more then $100million dollar for similar solutions to be developed for its processes. The government had reviewed the AER’s OneStop and had found significant lacking and opted to build their own. Still continuing to put more money into AER’s OneStop… Talk about doubling down on a bad bet.

Diana Daunheimer

Only a bad bet for the landowners and residents of Alberta, however, exactly what the progressive conservative government, industry and their lobbyists have been trying to achieve for quite some time. It was the PC government that enacted REDA and the brought into force the changes with the AER, that including taking over the Water Act, the Public Lands Act the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and portions of the Mines and Minerals Act, with respect to all fossil fuel operations. This was a critical step in ensuring the application of Onestop and deregulation would be successful, absolutely no interference from any other government agency with respect to water licensing and withdrawals, environmental assessments, reclamation certificates, operations on public lands, etc.

The fact that the UCP are continuing to invest heavily in this process of deregulation despite noted concerns and flaws, isn’t surprising, it’s exactly what they have advocated for. Don’t they have a “Red Tape Reduction” panel in the works?

It’s clear, the UCP doesn’t give two cents about public health, environmental protection, liability management, property rights, industrial compliance, sustainable water management or emissions mitigation. The UCP are petrol molls, simple as that.  

Iqra Warsan

I my opinion AER requires new blood; the new CEO should be someone not from the old guards of Alberta Government and/or Oil industry. The new CEO must be someone much more forward looking that can place the regulator on the right track. The first thing he/she must do is to take the entire management team, ROOT AND STEM, replace them with more competent people. We the Albertan’s deserve better than getting ripped off by these corrupted individuals. [the oil and gas industry & and their mobster CAPP will never allow it]

Diana Daunheimer Reply to @Iqra Warsan:

Considering the appointment of the current CEO, Gordon Lambert, former member of the AER Board of Directors is a direct violation of the Responsible Energy and Development Act, section 7 (2) “No director may be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer” and the first order of business of the new Board of Directors was to sign an MOU with the oilsands lobby group COSIA (the makings of ICORE 2.0), it is nearly impossible to imagine that the outrageously industry biased UCP government and their hand picked AER Board of Directors are going to choose a new CEO that is progressive, forward looking or without obvious connections and partisanship to the industry. 

Iqra Warsan

What I have been told that the incompetent EVPs, VPs, and Directors have created a hell of the mess for those that are still working for AER. I am not sure what Jason Kenney expected but this will definitely create failure in the regulatory process and/or efficiencies. AER still smells very much like the corruption that was perpetrated on the people of Albertan by Jim Ellis. The people that worked behind Jim and never said a word but benefited (by high salary and lifelong employment) are still there continuing their corrupted practices serving themselves and their friends.

Diana Daunheimer Reply to @Iqra Warsan:

The failures and inefficiencies of the AER can be attributed to much more than the incompetency and the corruptness of the corporations employees, the very legislation that governs and directs the AER, REDA, is inherently flawed and totalitarian.

Many of the former CEOs cohorts in the ICORE scandal have left the organization or been quietly “laid-off”. Ellis’s former stakeholder escort Jennifer Steber, (promoted to ICORE lead) was given a $335, 000 severance last year. Rick Brown, severance $334,000, Brenda Cherry (LinkdIn profile stating: “Established and led a newly formed branch reporting to EVP of Operations with a dotted line to the CEO.”) was given severance of $178,000. Former EVP of Operations, Mark Taylor (mentioned in the ICORE investigations) also let go, along with Stacey Schorr, and Carol Crowfoot. Zeeshan Syed, Ellis’s right hand man, who travelled and expensed tens, if not hundreds of thousands on ICORE promotion, left the organization sometime during the expose of the scandal.

It was estimated by the investigations over 50 employees were seconded to ICORE, so perhaps more were let go during subsequent layoffs, nonetheless, the upper management that certainly should have known their actions regarding ICORE were unprincipled, all seem to have moved on or been quietly released, inexplicably with generous severances, by the corporation. 

Guy Montag

$30 million per year for the war room supports about 150 to 200 staff per year.
I only see 8 people on the war room website.

Albert Westerman

Extremely sad days for a once world class regulator. Such talent lost. Too bad the individuals named in the Ethics Commissioners report will never likely feel the repercussions of what they did https://open.alberta.ca/publications/report-of-ethics-commissioner-into-allegations-involving-jim-ellis . And here I always believed the forever motto of those who came to the civil service from the Canadian Armed Forces was always “Vigilamus pro te” ……but I guess Jimmy boy never learned latin at army law school 

Derek Flannagan

I suppose Kenney’s government will keep cutting funding to regulators until all that remains is UCP yes-men. 

Clark Griswald

kenny doesn’t need too many people to rubber stamp everything @ the AER.

Al Millar

There must be some job opportunities in Kenney’s War Room . For $ 30 Million a year there must be more to it than an open bar .

 Edward Blyth Reply to @Al Millar: Certainly. You can get your shoes shined there as well, if you can demonstrate that you’re a member of the Petroleum Club. [ROARING LAUGHTER!] It’s also a very handy UCP slush fund.

Al Millar

Alberta has a Energy Regulator ? …That’s Funny … [MORE LAUGHTER!]

George Biggs Sr Reply to @Al Millar:
More things about Alberta that you didn’t know …

Desmond Zine

Reply to @Kevin Smiley: I can attest that they did indeed get rid of those that actually believed in their job and responsibilities to Albertans and Canadians. Those that pushed back when told to “just do it” and wanted to ensure things were done right were let go. The “Yes-men” and “Yes-women” were kept on. My spouse being one of them. I should clarify… My spouse was one that was let go… and one that maintained the integrity of the work and stuck to the proper procedure.

Albert Westerman Reply to @Desmond Zine: my sympathies to your spouse, you and your family. Albertans will only understand the loss way after its too late.

Diana Daunheimer Reply to @Desmond Zine:

Very sorry to hear this and do hope your partner finds gainful employment with an organization that values integrity.

Unfortunately the AER is not such a corporation. In our experience, the one ethical and conscientious inspector on our case, was replaced by ones willing to file fraudulent reports, close files to ensure no further non-compliances were exposed, and generally mislead, misrepresented and engaged in any tactic that was advantageous to non-compliant operators. This included the chief environmental scientist writing fallacious “Recurring Human Health Complaints Technical Synthesis” when resident or landowners submitted public health concerns. We’ve encountered uneducated, unscrupulous and grievously biased AER industry experts, stakeholder relations employees, board members, VPs and even the CEO Jim Ellis, who was proven to be outrageously unethical during his tenure, but all levels of government have disregarded this information and refused to mitigate the failings of the AER. Having interacted with nearly one hundred AER employees, I have yet to encounter one with an ounce of honour or professionalism. To hear that most of those have likely kept their positions is disheartening.

If possible, your spouse should contact the Auditor General and submit their experiences. It is my hope that if enough people speak up about the deplorable conduct the the AER, at all levels, then the corporation can be investigated and exposed beyond the conduct of Jim Ellis and his small circle of cohorts. This was not an isolated incident, the majority of the regulatory regime works on the principle of intimidation, fabrication and bias towards industry operations, where “yes-people” don’t do their jobs (as per legislation), to keep their jobs. 

 Jeremy Kemp

Kenney gutting the regulations that enable Albertans to breath and stay healthy without polluted water.

Al Millar Reply to @Jeremy Kemp: Kenney does what CAPP tells him to do .

Alberta Energy Regulator confirms 200 more employees laid off, The corporation’s funding was cut by 22% in the fall budget by Sarah Rieger, CBC News, Feb 19, 2020

The Alberta Energy Regulator has laid off 200 more employees.

An AER spokesperson confirmed last week’s layoffs in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Interim CEO Gordon Lambert had announced in January that the agency has been working to finalize a new organizational structure. Dozens of staff were laid off at that time.

“The new structure is simpler, one with less hierarchy, less duplication and more integration,” he said in an emailed release on Jan. 21.

“This is a difficult time for staff, and resources are available for both those who depart and those who stay.”

The AER — which is funded by a levy charged to Alberta’s energy industry — oversees that sector and is expected to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development. [BUT, IT NEVER HAPPENS]

It’s been under scrutiny since Alberta’s auditor general, public interest commissioner and ethics commissioner launched probes into the watchdog, detailing gross mismanagement and a culture of fear in their reviews.

The province removed the agency’s board, cut its funding by about 22 per cent and launched its own review in the fall.

An October 2019 update from the agency stated that, at the time, the AER had less than 1,160 full-time employees.

Subject: Anything For The Cheating Energy Industry!!
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 14:27:30 -0700
From: Stewart Shields email hidden; JavaScript is required
To: chrystia freeland email hidden; JavaScript is required, letters email hidden; JavaScript is required
CC: Doreen Mueller email hidden; JavaScript is required, email hidden; JavaScript is required, email hidden; JavaScript is required, Lacombe Ponoka email hidden; JavaScript is required, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Our Provincial government are very willing workers to save millions for our energy industry who have been very willing underwriters for the Alberta Energy Regulator!! Saving our energy industry dollars is taken far more serious by the UCP government and Jason Kenney –than doing the same thing for Alberta Tax Payers ? This became very evident when Kenney decided to undercut the Energy Industry Union by supplying such –called a War Room– with tax payers dollars in amount of $30 million dollars per year!! Although industry pay their CPP Union $4.64 per bbl. of oil produced to a maximum of 1.3 million- and a minimum of $5000 per member for their protection—Kenney seems to have decided their is a need for government assistance to catch bogymen- who write untruths about our above board energy entities -who are refusing to uphold their promised duties to abandon idle wells and gain a “reclamation certificate” when a lease is intended to be turned back to property owners!! The actions of this new government owned entity has been so hopeless it is the laughing stock across all of Canada and an embarrassment to all Alberta scribes of all political stripes!!

Albertan’s only wish is Kenney would be as careful with our public funds rather than throw $30 million at a project that is determined to find bogymen hiding in strange places in Alberta!! If you buy this line you will also no doubt suggest Kenney got where his is– by perfectly legal means?? And you have Oceanside Property In Arizona for sale??

Stewart Shields, Lacombe Alberta

AER says 200 jobs cut as regulator completes major restructuring by Post Media, Feb 20, 2020, Calgary Herald

Under growing political and financial pressure, the Alberta Energy Regulator has completed an internal restructuring, which has included cutting 200 jobs within the organization.

AER spokeswoman Cara Tobin said Thursday the layoffs were part of a reorganization within the energy regulator.

“It’s 200 people across the organization, across the province,” Tobin said in an interview. “That process is now complete.”

The AER is responsible for overseeing the safe, orderly and environmentally responsible development of the province’s oil, gas and coal resources, but it has been under an intense spotlight in recent months.

In last October’s provincial budget, the Kenney government signalled the AER would reduce its administrative levy on the oil and gas industry by eight per cent for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020.

The AER will collect about $233 million from the industry in the current budget year, down $19 million from the previous year. By 2022-23, the levy will fall to $206 million, representing an 18-per-cent cut from last year’s levels.

In January, interim CEO Gordon Lambert said the AER’s board and management team had developed a new structure to “help us become more effective, efficient and resilient.” The regulator’s new structure will focus on core functions, he said in a statement at the time. [BULL SHIT, IT’S JUST ABOUT SAVING INDUSTRY MONEY, AND DEREGULATING ALBERTA TO A TOXIC WASTE HEAP. GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN.]

Tobin said the AER, which had 1,160 full-time equivalent positions last fall, now has about 950 staff members. Layoffs began earlier this year, although the bulk of them occurred last week.

During last spring’s provincial election campaign, the UCP vowed to improve approval times for energy projects within the AER, and the government replaced the board of directors last fall with an interim board.

It also initiated a broader $500,000 review of the mandate and governance of the energy organization. Details of that process are expected to be released in the coming weeks, said Kavi Bal, spokesman for Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

Former CEO Jim Ellis left the organization in November 2018.

Last year, several reports by Alberta’s auditor general, ethics commissioner and public interest commissioner criticized the organization and Ellis for establishing the International Centre of Regulatory Excellence, a group designed to train international regulators.

Bal said the recruitment process is continuing for a permanent CEO and board of directors.

“There were a lot of things within the AER that weren’t operating right, and so during the (2019 election) campaign, the government committed to a full review, so it’s ongoing,” he said Thursday.

“It’s going to cut some red tape and make sure the AER is functioning. We need a single regulator that is efficient.”

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