Alberta government to review energy regulator, replaces board members

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CALGARY, A.B. – The Alberta government has announced a review of the province’s energy regulator.

Energy Minister Sonya Savage says the review will look at overall changes to the Alberta Energy Regulatory’s mandate, operations and governance.

She says its current board of directors is also being replaced with interim members.

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The moves were a campaign promise Premier Jason Kenney made before his United Conservatives were elected in April.

Kenney had said one of his first tasks would be replacing the board, especially member Ed Whittingham, who Kenney accused of committing “economic sabotage” against Alberta’s oil interests.

Whittingham, a former executive direction of the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based think tank that promotes economically responsible energy development, resigned before he could be fired.

Savage told a news conference that the interim board will serve for nine months. Members include two deputy ministers and former leaders with Cenovus Energy, Encana and the National Energy Board.

“Alberta’s oil and gas industry is constantly evolving,” Savage said.

“Alberta is competing for capital in investments in other jurisdictions. And frankly we’ve heard that our regulatory framework is not competitive.”

It takes four times longer to get a project approved in Alberta compared to Texas and twice as long compared to those in Saskatchewan, she added.

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She said Albertans can provide online feedback about the regulator until Oct. 14. The government is also planning to hold stakeholder workshops with industry, government and Indigenous groups.

A final report is to be released when the review is complete.

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