Thank you Mike De Souza and National Observer!
Pipeline panel recuses itself, chairman reassigned from Energy East duties
by Mike De Souza, September 9th 2016, National Observer
The panel reviewing the Energy East pipeline has recused itself in the wake of revelations uncovered in August by National Observer.
The hearings have been adjourned and Peter Watson, the chairman and chief executive of Canada’s National Energy Board has also recused himself from any duties related to the review of Energy East.
[Peter Watson, Chair of the NEB and past Deputy Minister Alberta Environment when the regulator engaged in fraud to help cover-up Encana illegally fracturing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers and the subsequent and ongoing dangerous contamination]
But the Board also said that there would now be no need for a full investigation, as requested by several stakeholders. It also said it was no longer necessary to release additional information about the private meetings that have prompted a public outcry.
The hearings on Energy East have been adjourned until the government names new bilingual board members who can serve on the panel.
The stunning decision comes after a series of legal motions and letters, launched by environmental lawyers in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, who called for the recusal of Board members from the Energy East process over the appearance of bias. First Nations leaders across the country have also demanded that the review process for Energy East restart from the beginning.
Jacques Gauthier, the Board member who invited Charest to discuss Energy East in a private meeting, was still defending the meetings on Friday, but he blamed the former Quebec premier for not being transparent about his contract with TransCanada.
“As with all of the meetings held as part of the National Engagement Initiative, the purpose of the meeting with Mr. Charest was to get a clear understanding of the concerns of Quebeckers regarding the Board, pipeline safety, and environmental protection,” Gauthier said in a letter released on Friday by the NEB. “That being said, this meeting would never have taken place if we had known that Mr. Charest was at that time a consultant for TransCanada PipeLines Limited, one of the applicants. However, neither Mr. Charest nor his people informed us that he was a consultant for one of the applicants at that time.”
Fellow panel members, Roland George and Lyne Mercier, also agreed to recuse themselves from the panel in order to protect the integrity of the National Energy Board. [What integrity?]
Peter Watson, the NEB’s chief executive, also acknowledged his participation in the private meetings with Charest and other stakeholders in January 2015 has “cast a doubt” on his ability to exercise specific duties related to the Energy East review, so he has agreed to recuse himself from those discussions. [Has Watson’s behaviour cast doubt about his ability to be Chair of the NEB? Emphasis added]
Harper legacy defeated in Energy East fiasco by National Observer, September 9th 2016
The ground is shaking beneath the foundation of Canada’s Calgary-based pipeline regulator, the National Energy Board.
Bowing to mounting pressure over scandals exposed by National Observer, the NEB’s Energy East panelists have all stepped down and NEB chief executive Peter Watson will not be allowed any further role in the pipeline review. [Isn’t that clear reason for him to step down or be fired as Board Chair? What good does Watson’s moving aside do, other than affirm his guilt?]
The Energy East hearings themselves have been “adjourned” until someone can figure out what to do. That “someone” would normally be the same chairperson who is no longer permitted to make any decisions on the matter.
It’s an object lesson in the importance of independent investigative journalism. The NEB has long had a serious problem with its public credibility. But it is only because of reader-supported investigations by Mike De Souza that we know the chairman and two of the panelists met privately with Jean Charest to discuss the pipeline proposal while he was on contract to TransCanada.
The Charest affair also gave Canadians a glimpse of the hidden albatross left by Stephen Harper around the neck of the current government. Stephen Harper may be gone from Parliament but his legacy of political appointees will continue to hamper progress on energy and many other files for years to come.
Even as Harper’s appointees at the NEB sought to lance the boil on Energy East, they continued raising doubts with their own obsessive secrecy. Despite the flurry of recusals announced on Friday, the NEB rejected legal motions calling for them to come clean. It refused to release all of its documents related to the Charest meetings and refused to conduct a proper investigation. The Harper M.O. lives on.
But the immediate question is what to do with Energy East? The NEB clearly hopes that a step sideways by its chairman and some new panelists will be enough to assuage the public.
That’s almost certainly wishful thinking. As law professor Jocelyn Stacey recently observed: “there is nothing the NEB can do in response to the most recent allegations of bias that can redeem the Energy East hearing.”
… [Emphasis added]
Here’s what people are saying about the NEB’s Energy East bombshell by Elizabeth McSheffrey, September 9th 2016, National Observer
#54 of 54 articles from the Special Report:
Secrets of Government
Yet the apparent conflict of interest from the meeting with Charest resulted in thousands of nationwide calls from environmental organizations, politicians, environmental groups, and lawyers for the recusal of the panel and cessation of Energy East hearings. Now that both have been granted for now, here’s what people are saying about it:
Roland George, presiding member
“… I have never participated in any engagement meetings as part of the National Engagement Initiative or any stakeholder meetings related to that initiative. Still, I too understand the rules of natural justice and the need for justice not only being done but being seen to be done.
“Given that I have deliberated with my fellow members of the Hearing Panel for an extended period following the engagement meetings, I am of the view that a reasonable person could think that I have been tainted as a result. My continued presence on the Hearing Panel has the potential to undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Board’s decision-making process.”
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre
“Mr. Watson took a decision filled with integrity, he acted with diligence and he did everything to protect the integrity of the National Energy Board.” [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
A comment to the article:
“Mr. Watson took a decision filled with integrity, he acted with diligence and he did everything to protect the integrity of the National Energy Board.”
Mr. Watson’s decision yesterday is a step in the right direction, true.
But what about his decision in January 2015 to not only allow secret, unauthorized meetings regarding a “matter before the Board” to occur, but to himself participate in these meetings? The Chair is arguably the person who is most responsible for upholding the Board’s internal protocol, code of conduct and precautions, all of which are crystal-clear and are there to protect the integrity & reputation of the NEB.
To date, the NEB has not admitted that anything “inappropriate” happened (despite the clarity of the rules), much less apologized to Canadians for it. Had it not been for Mike’s exceptional digging it’s entirely likely that none of this would have come to light.
Top-level noncompliance warrants a top-level investigation: citizens need to know what occurred in Montreal and why. Public trust in the NEB is unlikely to be restored until we get to the bottom of this. Violation of the rules by public servants of any government agency is a very serious matter, especially when the violations are made by its most senior officers.
Keith Brooks, programs director for Environmental Defence:
“Environmental Defence welcomes the news that NEB members Jacques Gauthier, Lyne Mercier and Roland George have recused themselves from the Energy East review but this doesn’t go far enough. The apprehension of bias – as evidenced by today’s recusal announcement – has damaged the entire review process beyond repair…
“The review of Energy East should be suspended until the NEB is fixed. It makes no sense to assess Energy East, the longest and largest tar sands pipeline ever, using a process everyone agrees is deeply flawed.”
Daniel Cayley-Daoust, energy and climate campaigner for Council of Canadians:
“These recusals are a step in the right direction, but they do not fix the NEB’s structural problems. The ball is in the Liberals’ court now. They can’t expect people whose livelihoods are at risk from the Energy East pipeline to trust a process that the Liberals themselves have admitted is structurally flawed and in need of reform.”
Charles Hatt, Ecojustice lawyer
“This vindicates our concerns about two panel members’ meetings about Energy East with interest stakeholders behind closed doors. But the process is now in disarray. The government must appoint new French-speaking members, the Board must authorize a new acting Chair and Vice-Chair in respect of Energy East, and the acting Chair must appoint an entirely new panel.
“That future panel will have to confront the question of what to do with all of the outgoing panel’s work up to now. The courts have said a proceeding tainted by a reasonable apprehension of bias is void and must start over from scratch.” [Emphasis added]
National energy regulator to replace Energy East reviewers following complaints by The Canadian Press, September 9, 2016, Calgary Herald
OTTAWA — The National Energy Board has sidelined all three Energy East reviewers following complaints that two of them met privately with a TransCanada consultant last year and discussed the proposed oil pipeline.
The Calgary-based national energy regulator says it has also limited the duties of board chairman Peter Watson and vice-chair Lyne Mercier, who will not be involved in choosing the new panel to resume the Energy East pipeline hearings at a later date.
Media reports this summer revealed that Mercier and board member Jacques Gauthier, both of whom were assigned to the Energy East hearings, met privately in January 2015 with former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who was a paid consultant for TransCanada Corp at the time.
Late last month, the federally mandated and government-appointed energy regulator suspended the fledgling hearings into the proposed, 4,500-kilometre oil pipeline.
More than 50 environmental and governance advocates this week urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap the whole NEB review process and start over with reviews on Energy East and the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in B.C.
But Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says that, while an overhaul of the energy regulator is slated for the longer term, existing major oil infrastructure bids will be assessed under the law as it currently exists. [Emphasis added]
Article above later updated to: National Energy Board cites ’apprehension of bias,’ drops Energy East reviewers by Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press, September 9, 2016, Last Updated: September 9, 2016 4:27 PM MDT, Calgary Herald
… “All three panel members have decided to recuse themselves in order to preserve the integrity of the National Energy Board and of the Energy East and Eastern Mainline review,” the board said in a release late Friday afternoon. [But, the NEB’s integrity, thanks to the panel and Peter Watson, is irreparable! Can the damage done by Watson et al be fixed with a quick switch from one questionable panel to another?]
“The members acted in good faith and have pledged not to discuss these two applications with either other board members or board staff.” [Are they and Watson trustworthy enough to believe? No.]
Watson, the board chair, and Mercier won’t perform their normal duties of assigning a new panel.
“They are doing so because they understand that their participation in these meetings may have created an apprehension of bias which could undermine the integrity and the credibility of the board’s decision-making process,” said the release.
… But Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says that, while an overhaul of the energy regulator is slated for the longer term, existing major oil infrastructure bids will be assessed under the law as it currently exists.
“It’s up to the National Energy Board to determine the way it governs itself,” said Carr. [Just like the law violating, lying, spying on innocent Albertans, corrupt, fraud engaging, enabling, cover-upper extraordinaire AER? And both legally immune, even for Charter violations? What kind of governing can we expect from Mr. Watson and his Board?]
“In the longer term, the government of Canada will look at the mandate of the National Energy Board, to look at its corporate governance, to look at its relationship with the government of Canada. But we will now operate under the law as it exists and the National Energy Board will have to take a decision in this matter.” [Led by Peter Watson? Ought he not be fired for his part in the fiasco?]
TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce said the NEB hearings are an important way to help Canadians better understand the $15.7-billion project. [With lies, secrets and propaganda?]
“We look forward to the sessions resuming and a respectful and constructive dialogue with Canadians about Energy East,” said Duboyce.
But the public dispute over the panellists’ behaviour further clouds a regulatory and review system that has been the subject of fierce complaints for years from both environmental advocates and industry.
TransCanada’s amendments to its Energy East proposal bring the cost of the proposal to $15.7 billion.
The former Conservative government [massively deregulated]
overhauled the rules in 2012 to speed up environmental assessments and [save oil companies money] reduce regulatory hurdles. The changes did not result in any major new pipeline approvals but did inflame debate among environmental and First Nations critics.
The Liberals came to office last November promising to revamp the environmental review system, reform the NEB, and also enact tough new climate policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Those various promises will be under intense scrutiny this autumn.
“The existing NEB is an economic regulator and isn’t equipped to deal with the commitments Trudeau has made on climate change and indigenous reconciliation,” Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada said Friday in an email.
“Trudeau has acknowledged both the NEB and environmental assessment processes are fatally flawed, so he can’t really expect a pipeline approved under (Stephen) Harper’s approval process to be seen as legitimate.”
Carr maintained there’s plenty of time for the NEB to get the Energy East hearings back on track and said ultimately the decision whether to approve the pipeline will be up to the Liberal cabinet, based on what’s in the national interest.
“There are 21 months of hearings in front of us, followed by a period of government review,” said Carr.
The NEB climbdown, however, only strengthened calls from environmental critics to scrap the whole board process.
… Keith Brooks of Environmental Defence said in an interview Friday that pipeline projects such as Energy East “offer more risks than rewards.”
“It’s hard to image a situation where we would be saying ’This is a good pipeline’ but what we could do is at least engage with a process that everyone thinks is credible and objective,” said Brooks.
The Council of Canadians issued a release saying Friday’s recusals “do not fix the NEB’s structural problems” and reiterating its call for a pause on all pipeline reviews until the NEB is retooled, new climate policies are in place and new policies are developed to ensure free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. [Emphasis added]
Proof of Mr. Ellis’ salary on AER’s Sunshine List
Diana Daunheimer’s comments more informative than the article below:
The public needs to be informed, that while the AER is fawning for their trust, within REDA, AER self-written regulations and in the SCC, the AER demands full immunity, even for Charter of Rights violations, bad faith and gross negligence. See the Ernst v. AER filings for details. Better yet watch the SCC hearing.
Under REDA, AER owes no duty of care to the public, is legally immune from any, and all of their regulatory actions or inactions. They are not beholden to the Public Service Act, despite being a gov corp-with $245 million dollars in public funding for 2016. The AER can kill your family, by being negligent on failing to enforce safe operations of well sites and facilities in your community, and you have no legal recourse, as they have officially indemnified themselves.
Posting pipeline applications and non-compliances fixes jack crap with the AER, they are mocking and manipulating the public trust with their media affiliations, press releases and pipeline portals. September 9, 2016
In the opposite direction of responsible regulation and safe operation of pipelines the AER is gutting the Pipeline Act, this from the Regulatory Change Report:
Section 53(1) of the Pipeline Rules requires a licensee to conduct an annual inspection or test on all steel and aluminum lines in a pipeline system. This project will review if temporary relief can be granted from the annual inspection and test on all steel and aluminum pipelines, including steel risers on plastic pipelines.
That July report mentioned also noted that average response time to those 23 investigated pipeline incidents (although there were 699 in that time) was 48 days. Not hours, over a month and a half. So when companies say they rely on cathodic protection, advanced, “fail-safe” and “world class” leak detection systems, you can question why Alberta averages two spills per day and response times are months beyond acceptable. September 9, 2016 · Edited
In over 3 years of requests and records generation in a lawsuit, even shaking hands with Ellis, neither the AER or Bellatrix Exploration, have provided documentation that the 9.9% sour gas lines surrounding us have been properly inspected and maintained. We are not critics, we are families that are worried for our safety. We expect the regulations of the Pipeline Act for yearly inspections for internal and external corrosions and proper maintenance, specifically in acid gas areas, are performed by companies and enforced by the regulator. No such thing happens. The “relief” above is more deregulation, as the AER knows damn well that companies are not doing proper inspection and maintenance.
The AER is not “independent”, “policeman on the ground”, goodness gracious what a rib-tickler, thanks for the laugh of the day Mr. Ellis;) Sounds very different than Neil Berry, AER Red Deer, telling us, on record, that it is a companies “discretion” and “prerogative” to follow mandated directives. September 9, 2016 · Edited
Andrew Fleischer · Calgary, Alberta
This is what is badly needed if it makes O&G companies look better, transparency at all levels is needed. If pipelines and the companies who own them are working well, share it with the public. September 9, 2016
Transparency is a buzz word for the AER, nothing more. They run a user pay system. When you try to access pertinent information for oil and gas infrastructure regulated by the AER by your property or in your community, they require you FOIP them, which can take years, is very expensive and a large portion of the records you request you likely will not get, as the AER gives companies two chances to deny submitting their records. In our FOIP, the AER charged us $.25/page for over a hundred blank, duplicated and redacted records.
The information the AER is suggesting will be made public here on pipelines, should long ago have been made freely and publicly accessible. [And, it’s possible that the AER is just lying again, dangling promises of information which it knows it will never make public]
Will they also publish all the maintenance and inspections programs of all the operators, so the public can see where the next big rupture will be? Nexen was not compliant with the Pipeline Rules and the end result was a massive pipeline release, followed closely by the death of two workers in the hydrocracker. September 9, 2016 · Edited
To further, when the AER comes to communities, as reps in industry funded synergy groups, i.e. CMAG and SPOG, they refuse to engage or assist impacted residents and regularly present fabrications on industrial impacts, such as: “unless you are sticking your face in frac sand, there are no impacts” and that the “U of A has concluded that fraccing does not cause seismicity” and the reason behind the AER refusing to install the mandated on and off site air quality monitoring for local facilities as per AAAQO and Directive 60 is that local well sites have “no emissions”. All of these AER statements were captured on record at CMAG events. In response, the new Terms of Reference for CMAG, states that meeting minutes may not be used in legal proceedings and that no meetings can be recorded without consent of all parties involved. Legally, both of these terms are unconstitutional, unenforceable and speaks volumes about the credibility and transparency of the AER and their synergy network. September 9, 2016
Casandra Ferra · Owner at Bloomfast mart, Penticton, B.C.
Diana Daunheimer Thanks for this deluge of complete garbage – if you did not get your welfare cheque complain someplace else. September 11, 2016
Julie Ali · University of Alberta
Casandra Ferra I have looked at Diana Dauneheimer’s case as well as that of Jessica Ernst. http://ernstversusencana.ca/
Diana isn’t writing “garbage” as you put it. She is providing accurate information.
The AER, CAPP and the government of Alberta are impermeable to inquiry and prone to using public dollars to spin problems into feel good stories like this one. They deflect legitimate questions such as what are the health impacts of oil and gas work around Alberta families?
I’d say that there are health impacts and yet, oddly enough neither the provincial or federal governments have done any sort of ongoing longitudinal study to determine what the impacts of development are.
I believe that there should be health studies since some impacts like cancer might only happen after continual exposure over time. Diana Daunheimer is a reliable witness to the health problems associated with oil industry work; we need to listen to these true stories rather than the AER advertisements. September 11, 2016
AER prepares to issue report cards on Alberta pipelines by Chris Varcoe, September 9, 2016, Calgary Herald
As children head back to school this month, it seems appropriate the Alberta Energy Regulator is making plans to issue its own form of report card.
The regulator will release information later this year, or early in 2017, on the performance of Alberta pipeline operators. It plans to follow that up by issuing data on oil and gas wells, as well as coal operations, in future years.
AER chief executive Jim Ellis revealed the initiative to make more information on pipelines available to the public during a speech to the World Heavy Oil Congress in Calgary.
“We’ve been all shooting in the dark for way too long. There’s been too many people commenting on the performance of the industry, and the lack of performance,” [And what about the companies intentionally shooting drinking water aquifers used by Alberta communities?] Ellis told the audience Wednesday.
“What we need to do is step up publicly and state what we, as the regulator … expect industry to do, what the performance should be, which is going to be really powerful.” [What synergy talk is that? “Expectations” and “shoulds” are legally unenforceable!]
The fact the AER is starting by releasing information on the 420,000 kilometres of pipelines — systems that move crude oil, bitumen, gas, oil emulsion and water — under its oversight is no accident.
Public confidence in pipelines has been shaken by incidents such as Husky Energy’s spill in Saskatchewan this summer and Nexen Energy’s leak at a line in northern Alberta last year.
Nationally, mega-projects such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion are under siege by opponents, while the future of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline is uncertain following a legal ruling over Ottawa’s lack of consultations with affected First Nations communities.
On Thursday, 59 environmental and social groups called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop the National Energy Board’s review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, saying the entire process needs to be overhauled first.
“The NEB process is broken,” the letter declares.
Greenpeace Canada’s Keith Stewart maintains the Liberals campaigned on fixing the pipeline approval process, but the NEB is reviewing Energy East under an old system with a few new modifications to consider greenhouse gas emissions and First Nations’ consultations.
“We don’t think the process is legitimate,” he said in an interview.
It’s no surprise opponents of oil and gas development take this position, although it would seem profoundly unfair for the government to adopt this stance after already modifying and starting the hearing process.
Yet, it reflects the deep-seated resistance by critics toward energy transmission projects, and the increasing pressure that faces regulators.
While the NEB oversees large oil and gas lines that cross provincial borders, the AER is in charge of many smaller gathering systems that criss-cross Alberta.
Like the NEB, the provincial body is also under more scrutiny and must become more open to ensure it has the confidence of the public.
Ellis noted the agency plays the role of “the policeman on the ground,” which is why it’s essential the AER be seen as an independent arbitrator.
[AER Police Reality Check:
Did AER play role of “the policeman on the ground” to intimidate Ernst who had recently filed lawsuit against the “regulator?”
Has AER sent “policemen on the ground” to harass other Albertans harmed by the oil and gas industry?
How often has AER violated the Charter rights of harmed Albertans?
February 12, 2009: Following a CTV W5 National News segment of Ernst’s explosively contaminated well water and the ERCB’s (now AER, previously EUB) treatment of her, “undercover” Royal Canadian Mounted Police with Canada’s anti-terrorist squad arrive warrant-less at Jessica’s home in Rosebud to interrogate. EnCana, Alberta Environment and the ERCB had been served legal papers two months previously.
2009 11 12: The Intimidation of Ernst: Members of Harper Government’s Anti-terrorist Squad Intimidate and Harass Ernst after her Legal Papers were Served on Encana, the EUB (now AER) and Alberta Environment
AER Police Reality Check]
The regulator has already gathered significant amounts of data on pipelines. Information released to the public will be company specific, including incidents reported per thousand kilometres of line.
“It’s our attempt to move forward and be more transparent with the real data and let Albertans have a full understand of what’s going on,” Ellis told reporters. [Decades too late? Why now?]
“We wanted to take a look. We did a risk-based approach on this, and pipelines are front and centre for everyone.”
If companies that operate pipelines regulated by the AER are surprised by the upcoming report card, they shouldn’t be. The approval and monitoring of pipelines has become a critical policy issue with both provincial and federal governments, as well as the regulators.
In July, for example, the AER issued a bulletin flagging problems with some producer-operated lines in Alberta.
In the past three years, the regulator has investigated 23 pipeline leaks. In one-third of those cases, improper leak detection was found to be a significant contributing factor.
In 2015, AER data shows there were 504 spills and other reportable incidents (such as the release of water) in the province, down from 693 the previous year. During the first half of this year, the regulator reported 230 such incidents.
The idea of disclosing more information on individual companies makes sense.
The data on pipelines will allow Albertans to see which operators are the top performers in the sector, and who’s at the bottom. This should put pressure on laggards to step up their game, or face some uncomfortable questions in the boardroom.
“We’ve been told by our stakeholders that they want us to be more open,” Ellis said.
“This is another step down that road — to help, in our case, Albertans understand what the performance is, what the standards are, and if we see an issue, then what is the regulator going to do to step in to deal with that.” [Emphasis added]
Diana Daunheimer’s comments more informative than the article below:
The existing AER system is akin to having to get a building permit for every nail in your house. Glad to see they are consolidating this. But when NEB streamlined their approval process, environmentalists went crazy….watch for that here. 3 · Sep 8, 2016 6:11am
Samantha Smith · Board chair at Own Corporations
More Corporate Welfare and enabe gross Environmental degradation, poison water etc etc.
Like · Reply · 1 · Sep 7, 2016 9:05pm
Where is their this issue? . The rules are strict and if there is an offense it is punishable, stop this talk of land degradation it does not exist and all the problems are people who know nothing of the way people who care about the environment, but you seem to know more than most! Sep 8, 2016 8:18am
Samantha Smith · Board chair at Own Corporations
Jack Meyer It’s called destruction of the environment and contributing to Extinction via Climate Change and Global Warming.
Do you deny Global Warming?
I know more than you the Communist and Arab State owned Oil Corporations in Alberta Thank you for your support of Communists and Gulf State Arabs and adding to their Wealth while you in Alberta have deficits.
Like · Reply · Sep 8, 2016 9:41am
You have no clue how much paperwork is involved to get a simple “de-watering” permit. The amount of paperwork, research and EIA for air, soil, and water impacts is staggering. So, the last thing we need is crazy environmentalists like you telling us engineers what to do. You are incapble of even designing a simple water pump. Do you know how many standards, spec’s and safety guidelines we have to follow to prove something is safe to the government? If you do, tell me what standards have to be followed to complete an EIA? So don’t come here spewing garbage, if you can’t back up your claims. Sep 8, 2016 10:09am · Edited
Samantha Smith · Board chair at Own Corporations
Bobby SP Rubbish. You are a wage slave for the Oil industry a lot owned by Arab and Communist China State corporations they thank you for your slavish support of the 1% while your are a wage slave.
Do you know that these types of permits are not denied by the”regulators” it’s file the paper work and go ahead for the benefit mostly of the 1% like the Arab and Communist China State owned big Oil Corporations.
How many big Oil corporations do you own? Oh yeah none. Sep 8, 2016 11:09am
Samantha Smith Nice job dodging the quesions I asked you. You are incapable of understanding the technical process (therefore you are not even qualified to have a technical discussion). More proof that you envirothugs are absolutely clueless about the regulations, thanks for making this so easy. You have once again failed to have a debate using facts, science and technical engineering principles rather resort to “name calling” this is what children do (adults like to solve complex probelms)…nothing new really. Better luck next time, have a great day : ) · Sep 8, 2016 12:43pm · Edited
[MUST READ COMMENTS!]
Mr. Southwick, Ellis & Ms. Way,
May I suggest you read the PBR Pilot Evaluation, below are some key conclusions:
-The AER issued six single approvals under the PBR pilot, each with 30 to 50 individual authorizations
-Collaboration among pilot participants on surface development was not evident in submitted applications
-General information about the pilot provided by the AER to stakeholders was insufficient, leading to a limited understanding of the PBR pilot and its outcomes.
-Surface-related play-based requirements were not developed
-The requirements to submit the single applications were not sufficiently detailed and clear, making it challenging for pilot participants to develop their applications.
-While the pilot did not minimize cumulative effects across all of these areas, progress was made towards reducing cumulative effects in the pilot area.
[In the text the AER has italicized “minimize” and “reducing”. How scientific of them]
Sep 7, 2016 7:15pm · Edited
-To this end, industry has noted that they will put more effort into minimizing cumulative effects in a play if they are mandated to do so or if there are economic advantages
-There was a general lack of information about the pilot, and the information that was available to stakeholders was insufficient to gain an understanding of the PBR pilot. Stakeholders expressed that accessible information about the pilot was unclear and not relevant.
-…however, they did not feel that pilot participants provided them with enough information to fully understand the project plans or its potential impacts over the long term.
-Stakeholders, including First Nations and Métis, were provided with large PBR applications, but pilot participants did not meaningfully engage with stakeholders and explain potential impacts of larger-scale projects over the long term….
Sep 7, 2016 5:56pm
– Generally, stakeholders questioned whether their input was considered in the pilot participant’s applications and how pilot participants would continue meaningful engagement with stakeholders in the pilot area.
-Feedback from pilot participants and forest management agreement (FMA) holders identified that requirements to obtain FMA holder consent were unclear.
-The lack of clear detail made it challenging for the participants to develop their single applications. As a result, the quality and content of the received applications varied considerably.
– the AER did not receive comprehensive and long-term views of the project development that the PBR pilot was aiming for. Sep 7, 2016 5:57pm
-Applications were reviewed based on an international risk standard, ISO 31000:2009, Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines, using AER criteria in five areas: stakeholder engagement, reservoir management, water management, surface impacts/infrastructure, and life-cycle wellbore integrity. [notice public health, cumulative emissions, wildlife impacts and numerous other risks are missing]
– it was recognized that some legislative and regulatory change may be considered to fully implement the PBR concept…
PBR clearly failed and yet the AER is “confident”, while providing the public with no evidence or evaluations of the $65 million in savings, that PBR can work across Alberta and have already implemented it in their 2016 Annual Report as NALA.
If the AER is so transparent, make the 6 applications and all supporting documentation public. Sep 7, 2016 7:17pm · Edited
“The public, environment and environmental health, and safety risks are fully addressed based on our existing regulations,” Ellis said during a speech at the World Heavy Oil Congress at Calgary’s BMO Centre.
Under REDA, the AER has no public interest or public health mandate, Mr. Ellis is not being upfront on what is covered in existing regulations.
Ms. Way is also on record stating that the two “Recurring Health Complaints Tech. Synthesis” done by the AER’s water toxicologist (no professional health credentials) Monique Dube, on residents in Lochend and Didsbury, were “not based in reality” and that Pembina is working on their own, “less technical” version-when the original reports were already elementary, unscientific and full of omissions, deletions and misleading information. What a nauseating synergizing system we have in Alberta, as neither Pembina or AER have public health mandates, only AHS does and where are their contributions to the cumulative impacts on public health? Sep 8, 2016 6:03am · Edited
Diana Daunheimer Oh so you know, alot where is your health or scientific degrees and who named you the one who knows? Sep 8, 2016 8:20am
Energy regulator says it’s saving Suncor $64 million on project bid by Reid Southwick, September 7, 2016, Calgary Herald
The head of Alberta’s energy watchdog said Wednesday the regulator is saving industry tens of millions through a pilot program that streamlines reviews of oilsands projects and can cut application timelines by several years.
Suncor Energy Inc., the country’s largest integrated oil company, could save about $64 million on its bid for a large project as a result of the pilot, which permits one application for multiple wells, pipelines and other components, according to the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Jim Ellis, chief executive of the regulator, said a single application for a project, rather than many for all of its components, would produce a “better understanding of the broader impacts of energy development” and would not undermine reviews of environmental effects.
“The public, environment and environmental health, and safety risks are fully addressed based on our existing regulations,” Ellis said during a speech at the World Heavy Oil Congress at Calgary’s BMO Centre.
The regulator is reviewing a bid under this pilot for Suncor’s Meadow Creek East project in northeastern Alberta that would produce up to 80,000 barrels per day.
The company has filed a single application for more than 1,500 wells, a central processing facility, stormwater ponds, pipelines, roads and land access, among other components.
Ellis said the streamlined review process would shave the application review from six or seven years down to a single year and would save the company about $64 million. [Any more proof needed that the AER’s purpose is to enable energy company profit taking, while helping companies abuse the environment and Albertans?]
Should the project be approved, Suncor said it would realize those savings over 25 to 40 years because the new approach removes requirements for iterative yearly applications and approvals.
“The new AER process is more efficient and transparent, and the single application approach provides more certainty to the regulator and our stakeholders,” Suncor said in a statement.
Suncor was the first company to seek project approval under the pilot, followed by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which submitted one request for 47 heavy oil wells along with access roads, pipelines and other components for a project northwest of Cold Lake.
“In the past, these were hundreds of applications from the company to the regulator involving multiple, very complex stakeholder engagement,” Ellis said during his speech.
Nikki Way, a policy analyst at the environmental Pembina Institute, said a single review of an oilsands project provides an opportunity to review the cumulative effects of a project, from wildlife impacts to emissions, in one shot.
But Way said she was concerned about whether there are sufficient mechanisms to ensure that all of a given project’s effects will receive sufficient scrutiny.
“Moving away from an individual well-by-well approach to a large-scale approach could be a good thing,” she said. “But without the right criteria in place it won’t necessarily be.”
Ellis told reporters there will be ample time for meaningful consultation, despite the fast-tracked review process.
Under the existing regime, he said, a landowner owning property near a proposed project may be visited by the company several times on narrow features of its application, such as wells or land access.
Under the piloted approach, the landowner would be presented with a single overview of the project outlining cumulative effects.
“It’s better for those people that are directly and adversely affected by a development to have the full view as opposed to, I’m coming to your door and I’m in charge of the battery that’s going to go under the well site,” Ellis said. [Emphasis added]