Massive conflict of interest in Alberta

Just as Alberta is suffering yet another massive toxic waste spill, and a dangerous sour gas leak, Alison Redford has appointed a major oil lobbyist as Alberta’s Energy Regulator.

Gerry Protti’s appointment is a huge conflict of interest — but the new agency isn’t full operational yet and a massive public outcry right now could force Premier Redford to reverse Protti’s appointment.

Albertans deserve an impartial regulator. Tell Alison Redford: Gerry Protti must be replaced.
Send your message

The Alberta government just appointed a major oil industry lobbyist to be Alberta’s chief energy regulator, right as Alberta is suffering a toxic waste spill that’s being called the “worst environmental disaster in North America in recent history” and a dangerous sour gas leak causing homes to be evacuated.1-3

Albertans deserve an impartial regulator who will put our jobs, families and health first — before the narrow interests of industry.4

Gerry Protti is one of the founders of the Canadian Association for Petroleum Producers. He is a PC donor, a paid lobbyist for the Energy Policy Institute of Canada, and until recently was even on Encana’s payroll.5

Protti will be given a mandate to decide the fate of energy projects — and the power to choose if and when environmental hearings take place on controversial projects. He can even pick who gets to speak at environmental hearings.6

As energy regulator, Protti is supposed to look out for Alberta families, our health and the environment, but with his deep ties to industry and lobbying, there’s real concern that the narrow interests of oil companies (most of them foreign-owned)7 could shape decision-making in Alberta, hurting our children, damaging our environment and compromising our future.

Alison Redford promised that the new Energy Regulatory Board would improve Alberta’s regulatory system, not destroy it. This appointment raises real questions about their true intentions. Protti’s term is just starting — but the new agency isn’t full operational yet and a massive public outcry now could force Premier Alison Redford to reverse Protti’s appointment.

Send your email now to Premier Alison Redford and your local MLA demanding Protti be replaced, and that a consultation be done to ensure that Alberta’s regulator is impartial.

Protti’s appointment is part of a decision to streamline Alberta’s environmental and regulatory process. By creating a single regulatory body, Premier Redford promised to make its regulatory process more effective. But that only works if the regulator is completely independent, and ready to stand up for Albertans’ interests. In practice, fewer eyes will assess the environmental and social impacts of energy projects, and fewer people will enforce Alberta’s environmental regulations. It also concentrates power in one office, so we need to be all the more concerned if there is industry bias on the regulator’s part.8

Now, dozens of environmental, First Nations and community groups are coming together to demand answers.6 Protti’s appointment represents a massive conflict of interest, but together we can reverse the appointment if we speak out now and demand that Alberta’s regulator be unbiased.

Alberta’s energy regulator is supposed to look out for Alberta families, health and the environment, but this appointment creates a real conflict of interest, and a perception of bias that can’t be allowed to stand.

The Leadnow community has spoken out against corruption and conflicts of interest before. Now, we have a chance to bring in someone great and impartial as Alberta’s Energy Regulator. This could be the beginning of democratizing energy decisions in Alberta ensuring a fair playing field so we get balanced decisions that look out for our interests.

Send your email now to Premier Alison Redford and your local MLA demanding Protti be replaced.

http://www.leadnow.ca/alberta-regulator

Thank you for all that you do.

With hope and respect,
Emma, Matthew, Jamie, Maggie, Logan, and the whole Leadnow.ca team

Sources:

[1] Toxic waste spill in northern Alberta biggest of recent disasters in North America (The Globe and Mail)

[2] Alberta toxic waste spill could be biggest North American environmental disaster in recent history (Yahoo News)

[3] Sour gas leak in Turner Valley, Alta (CBC News)

[4] Opinion: No shortage of green solutions for a better kind of oilsands (Edmonton Journal)

[5] Alberta Energy Regulator Gerry Protti is the Oil Patch Lobby’s Golden Goose (Huffington Post)

[6] Bill 2 and its implications for the jurisdiction of the Environmental Appeal Board (University of Calgary Faculty of Law)

[7] Oilsands critics put spotlight on foreign ownership (CBC)

[8] Setting the stage for the next 50 years of effective and efficient energy resource regulation and development in Alberta (University of Calgary Faculty of Law)


Leadnow.ca is an independent community that brings Canadians together to hold government accountable, deepen our democracy and take action for the common good.

 

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