How “law makers” put polluting corporations above the law.

Energy “regulators” copy deregulation in other jurisdictions. AER is 100% industry-funded and controlled, largely by Encana/Cenovus/Ovintiv. AER’s public interest mandate was removed after my lawsuit went public and the deregulator has no public health mandate.

Republicans Introduce Bill Saying DEP Permit Applicants Are Always Right, Eliminates Public Comments; Add Other Bills To Their Environmental Agenda by David Hess, PA Environment Digest Blog, April 9, 2021

House Republicans last week introduced House Bill 604 (Fritz-R-Susquehanna) adding more bureaucracy to the DEP permit review process, declaring in law the applicant for an environmental permit is always right and eliminates public comment periods.

The bill establishes a new “Rube Godberg” review process for the review of any individual or general environmental permit issued by DEP that sets a uniform 45 day review deadline for all permits, regardless of mandated public comment periods.

If DEP does not meet the 45 day review time, the permit applications are automatically approved if a professional engineer who prepared the application self-certifies the application’s contents are “true and correct” to the best of their knowledge and that the requirements for issuing the permit “have been satisfied.”

The bill also sets up a new process for determining when an application is complete that says an application is complete, “notwithstanding whether the necessary information or other information supplied in the application is sufficient to grant the application.”

It also says if there are disagreements between the applicant and DEP over completeness, a new provision is put in law that says if a professional engineer who self-certifies the application is complete, then the application is complete, unless DEP rebuts the presumption by clear and convincing evidence to a new permit completeness dispute referee.

A new process is established with a new permit completeness referee that makes determinations of whether a permit application is complete.  The decision of the referee cannot be appealed to the Environmental Hearing Board.

Some Thoughts

First, most people, even most legislators, would say eliminating public comment periods for hazardous waste, landfill, air quality, mining, wastewater discharge and almost all environmental permits would be a problem, and not only because these comment periods are required by state and federal law.

Most people would say requiring the issuance of a DEP permit based on having someone who prepared a permit application self-certify that it is complete and meets all the requirements of environmental law and regulations is a problem.

This is especially true seeing as how the House Environmental Committee found at a hearing 50 to 60 percent of the permit applications submitted by engineers to county conservation districts, as one example, are incomplete or technically deficient and it takes them an average of 33 business days to respond to those deficiencies.  Read more here.

Add to that– DEP is reviewing 94 percent of its permit applications and authorizations WITHIN the deadlines established in its Permit Decision Guarantee Program established by Gov. Ridge and re-established by Gov. Corbett, even during the COVID pandemic.  Read more here.

Most people would say ADDING bureaucracy to DEP’s permit review process in the form of a completeness “referee” and not allowing the decisions of that referee to be appealed is a problem and a violation of due process.

The bottomline is this legislation makes DEP’s permit review process LONGER, cuts out the public and allows the person who prepared the application to self-certify the permit application is correct and meets all requirements.

Refer also to:

Pennsylvania: More deregulation, subsidies and gifts ahead to benefit oil & gas polluters. Kids with cancer, be damned.

“Ring around the Rosie” Catch 22: AER & Alberta Environment ping pong game benefits corporations and the rich. Energy Minister Sonia Savage: “No, that water is under the Alberta Environment and Park’s responsibility and the Alberta Energy Regulator makes decisions regarding coal projects and water was not going to be part of the coal policy review.”

Never forget: Courts ruled in Ernst vs AER that it is legally immune, owes no duty of care and is above Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. AER has no public health mandate and the Alberta gov’t removed its public interest mandate after the Ernst lawsuit went public. There is no authority to protect Albertans, our health, our rights and drinking water, and the feds have gone AWOL.

US “watchdog” (more like kitten) bends over for orange mad man and his mad Repuglicans (not a typo): Starting April 1, 2021, Big US banks forced to loan to oil & gas. Greg Baer, president, CEO of Bank Policy Institute: “The rule lacks both logic and legal basis, it ignores basic facts about how banking works, and it will undermine the safety and soundness of the banks to which it applies.” Big Oil no longer equates to Big Jobs.

Nakoda Nation, Alberta: 1988, Engineer reported hundreds of drinking water wells contaminated with sour gas on Stoney Reserve west of Calgary. H2S is deadly, damages the brain even at low levels. AER blamed nature and if not nature, then bacteria. Same blame game polka after frac’ing contaminated drinking water wells with gas at Ponoka, Wetaskiwin, Spirit River, Rockyford, Rosebud, Redland, etc.

UCP Alberta’s new plan (money laundering on a roll with more deregulation in the fine print?): Gives $billion gift from Canadians to $mega-billion profit-taking oil & gas companies via AER. Will the old wells and environmental liabilities be cleaned up? Unlikely.

AER skulduggery escalates: Dave Goldie, Encana & Cenovus VP is new Chair (first was Encana & Cenovus VP Gerry Protti); Martin Foy, Encana crime-enabler, appointed Exec VP (remember AER exec VP, ex-Encana lying manager Mark Taylor?); Propagandizing Synergy Queen, Tracey McCrimmon & Encana crime-enabler Bev Yee appointed to the Board; Anti-science climate change denier, Steve Harper’s best buddy/compaign manager, Kenney’s Kamikazi campaign manager, John Weissenberger, made VP Technical Science & External Innovation Branch.

Oil & gas friendly spy agency, CSIS, that for years, “relied on legal doctrine of Crown immunity as defence against criminal liability,” chastised in court yet again, for pissing on the rule of law. Better tell our lying Supreme Court of Canada judges; murdering illegally spying police; RCMP illegally operating as mobsters for Encana & AER trying to scare frac-harmed plaintiffs into silence and violently arresting innocents to enable oil & gas profits; too many criminal, lying politicians (that appoint our judges or become judges); lying “justice” lawyers; lying, rule-violating public interest lawyers; etc etc etc.

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Nails It: Hydraulic fracturing is poisoning us (AER & BC OGC are much more corrupt and industry-controlled regulators than PA’s DEP)

AER’s new “Dickhead” Laurie Pushor off to Kenney-wanna-be-Trump races: “No Duty of Care” AER abuses Covid-19 crisis to deregulate oilpatch and foothills coal mining. (Stephen Cousin’s sketch may offend some, but it’s too perfect not to add to this vulgar news.)

Are Covid-19 fatalities a measure of the oil & gas industry’s killing power? More and more studies prove how deadly & dishonest the industry is. Message to CAPP & AER: It’s not “odours” killing us, it’s pollution, including nitrogen dioxide.

AER picks next “Dickhead” (Pres & CEO): “Back Door” Laurie Pushor, reportedly scandle-corroded pisser on rules, conflict of interest old white man, was Alberta gov’t official under Ralph Klein, is Saskatchewan’s Deputy Minister Energy & Resources and on the Board of STEP, Sask Trade & ***Export*** Partnership

AER enables Vesta’s rape of Red Deer River for frac’ing, allows withdrawal of “half a cubic metre of water per second” assaulting residents with 80 decibels “deafening noise” day & night, diesel & light pollution, forcing pilot to sleep in hotel instead of his own home. Appears Vesta is boiling the river for access; thanks to AER, when you catch fish in Alberta now, it’s pre-cooked.

Frac’in’ farce ‘n shit show! AER tells landowners (ripped off by oil and gas companies) to reach out to Alberta Surface Rights Board and the gov’t even though AER knows full well that ASRB and Kenney/UCP only further harm Albertans harmed by oil and gas, and never come to our aid.

Scrubbadubbadub! Happy Frac’ing Holidays! Two earthquakes west of Alberta’s Fox Creek Frac Hub: 4.0M on Dec 25; 4.1M on Dec 30. Like a coronavirus, it spreads. Earthquakes Canada already scrubbed the 4.1M; nothing reported in the media or by AER, again. Too busy farting in Post Media’s War Room.

UCP set to overhaul oilpatch liability rules for law-violating, lying AER to ignore, as usual, obeying Big Daddy CAPP that ex-Encana VP, ex-AER Chair Gerard Protti created. Regulator “overhaul” is code for deregulation.

**Public** Accounts Standing Committee on AER’s 100% **industry** funded ICORE scandal: Board Chair Bev Yee (who helped cover-up Encana crimes), blathers on, deflects questions, toots for AER Board and UCP, no wonder UCP appointed her Chair. UCP MLA said “public” money was blown on the scandal knowing AER/ICORE rec’d no public funds.

Oklahoma pipeline operator Williams and its subsidiary Mockingbird Midstream Gas Services sue Railroad Commission of Texas in flaring dispute. Is the Texas regulator legally immune like AER?

Auditor General David Wilke nicely slaps AER and Alberta Environment (oil & gas industry’s lapdogs) for some Hanky Panky but who will investigate decades of the “regulators” covering-up endless crimes and public health harming pollution by oil and gas companies? And when? Or, was his slap just more of the usual fluffy talk and no action?

Is AER making those who “leave” sign gag orders with payouts to keep secret the dirty goings on at the “Brotherhood” and Orphan Well Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Club? Nicely enabled by Alberta gov’t pretending to “clean” house while ramping up deregulation for industry to pollute and harm more?

Where did AER’s Executive VP Mark Taylor go? He was Encana manager when the company illegally frac’d Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, then lied about it to 200 concerned community members, promising Encana would only frac far below fresh water zones (same lie touted by frac’ers everywhere), after area water wells had already gone bad, and were being investigated by – of course – the criminal, with regulator and govt blessings.

Frac-Harmed Pennsylvania gets “criminal investigations” into the regulatory fraud, corruption and cover-up (eg turning post-pollution water test data into “baseline”). Frac-Harmed Alberta gets oil patch led Witch Snitch & Kenney’s Kopy Kat War Room, both with boasted intent to harm those concerned with life-threatening pollution, even though AER, Alberta Environment, Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates) and Alberta politicians also engaged in fraud, corruption and cover-up.

End game of AER/CAPP/Alberta’s putrid hundreds of billions in oilpatch liabilities stench has been known for decades. Yet another review not needed! Just get to work! Start cleaning up!

Deputy Environment Minister Bev Yee – who helped cover-up Encana’s crimes: diverting water without required permit under Water Act, illegal aquifer fracs, community-wide drinking water contamination & exploding water tower – appointed by Alberta gov’t to chair the AER in “steps to clean house.”

California regulators still allowing industry to inject toxic oilfield waste into drinking water aquifers, violating Safe Drinking Water Act; Companies will sue if ordered to stop. Alberta regulators break the law too, letting industry frac into drinking water aquifers, AER’s law violations even enabled by Canada’s top court

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