Alberta must stop letting an oily fox guard the energy henhouse, and bring in an energy regulator that protects people, and the environment not just oil companies. That call comes from over 30 landowner, labour, environmental and First Nation groups, who wrote to Premier Redford and asked her to remove Gerry Protti, founding President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, as the chair of the Province’s new energy regulator.

Graphic courtesy of Chelsea Flook

The groups cite Protti’s history as founding President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, his 14 year stint as an Encana executive, and his role as an active lobbyist on behalf of oil companies as evidence of bias that should disqualify him as Chair of the new Energy Regulatory Board.

Don Bester of the Alberta Surface Rights Group, which represents landowners, told the Canadian Press:

“I’ve seen biased appointments before, but this one tops the list… Our organization was invited to Edmonton to go over this bill. Arriving at 8 o’clock in the morning, there was a wall 40 feet long and eight or nine feet high with nothing but those flipover charts of what industry had already put down to the government.  It was all decided before we even got there. And the main orchestrator of that piece of legislation, Gerry Protti, was on the podium telling us exactly how this was going to come down.”

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation told the Edmonton Journal that given his corporate credentials and his years as an oil industry lobbyist, “We question his ability to chair the Alberta Energy Regulator with transparency and accountability.” 

The call for Protti’s resignation comes a week after a scathing report by Greenpeace Canada on the 2011 Rainbow oil spill, which outlined several issues with Alberta’s energy regulator and it’s already too friendly industry approach to environmental enforcement.

The 30+ groups are hoping the Premier will remove Protti and consult the public on a more balanced person for the position.

The letter reads:

We the undersigned are very concerned about the Alberta government’s move to a single energy regulator and its appointment of Gerry Protti, former founding President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) as its new chair.

The move to a single regulator means fewer eyes will assess the environmental and social impacts of energy projects. Fewer people will regulate and enforce Alberta’s environmental regulations. It also concentrates power in fewer hands so that landowner rights and Treaty impacts may not be properly addressed. This new approach appears to favour proponents and limits the opportunity of interveners to raise valid concerns. The fact these decisions will now be overseen by someone, like Gerry Protti who has such a reasonable perception of bias undermines the credibility of the whole Alberta regulatory process.

We the undersigned hereby demand that Gerry Protti, be asked to step down from his role as chair of the Alberta Energy Regulator and that more consultation should be done to ensure concerns around the single regulator model are fully and adequately addressed.

The former founder of CAPP is not an appropriate choice to head the Alberta government’s Provincial energy regulator.

Sincerely,

  1. Alberta Federation of Labour
  2. Alberta Surface Rights Group
  3. Alberta Union of Provincial Employees
  4. Alberta Wilderness Association
  5. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
  6. Canada's Citizens Climate Lobby
  7. Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
  8. Central Athabasca Stewardship Society
  9. Change Alberta
  10. Cleanwater Foundation
  11. Council of Canadians
  12. For Our Grandchildren (4RG)
  13. Forest Ethics Advocacy
  14. Global Exchange
  15. Green 13
  16. Greenpeace Canada
  17. Greenspiration
  18. Indigenous Environmental Network
  19. Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
  20. Kainai Lethbridge Earth Watch
  21. Keepers of the Athabasca
  22. L'Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA)
  23. National Farmers Union
  24. Peace River Environmental Society
  25. Polaris Institute
  26. Public Interest Alberta
  27. Residents for Accountability in Power Industry Development
  28. Sierra Club Canada
  29. Sierra Club Prairie
  30. Springvale Surface Rights Association
  31. Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation
  32. Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta
  33. United Landowners of Alberta
  34. Vegans & Vegetarians of Alberta
  35. West Athabasca Water shed Bioregional society
  36. Windfall Ecology Centre