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Alberta government pushes for timely energy application reviews

Alberta government pushes for timely energy application reviews

EDMONTON — The Government of Alberta has introduced a new bill to accelerate the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) assessment of resource project applications.

The legislation would provide government with the backstop authority the establish maximum timelines for the AER to review applications if the regulator fails to do so, a government release stated.

“The regulator’s obligation to fully consider social and economic effects and the effects of an activity on the environment and landowners is unchanged,” the statement said.

“We’ve heard, loudly and clearly, a regulatory system that provides certainty is the key driver to ensure needed capital investment flows into the province. We’re not asking the regulator to say yes or no to any project, but rather to ensure delays and uncertainty do not dissuade projects — that will help put Albertans to work — from being brought forward for review. Since being elected, we have taken a series of steps to strengthen and modernize the AER, helping to set a course for economic recovery by increasing investor confidence in Alberta’s energy sector,” said Alberta Minister of Energy Sonya Savage in a statement.

“We made a commitment to Albertans that we would review and restructure the AER in order to ensure we are able to create certainty for the province’s job creators while maintaining our commitment to excellence in terms of environmental outcomes. This legislation will harmonize government and AER policies, allowing the regulator to approve or reject projects more quickly using its already stringent standards,” Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon added.

The Alberta government has also directed the AER to establish a red tape reduction task force.

On Sept. 6, 2019 the government initiated a review of the AER and appointed an interim board of directors to provide direction on restrictions, review the industry levy that funds the regulator and increase clarity on the AER’s role in providing proper oversight.

On March 26 the AER appointed Laurie Pushor as permanent CEO and on April 1 the government announced a new AER board of directors.

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