After expense hanky panky by AER’s top executive Jim Ellis is publicly commented on by Diana Daunheimer, Alberta farmer and mother of two, he steps down: “Good riddance, bring in the next dickhead.” Indeed! Third AER executive paid to commute from BC (air & water too polluted in Alberta?)

Alberta Energy Regulator paying a 3rd executive to commute from B.C., Previously, the AER board was unaware it was paying some executives to travel from B.C. by Kyle Bakx, Jun 17, 2019, CBC News

The president of an oilpatch industry group is calling for significant changes at the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) after learning that another executive at the regulator is living outside the province and billing for travel.

CBC News has learned a member of the AER’s legal team, Jeff Moore, lives in Victoria, B.C., and has been commuting to Edmonton and Calgary for at least two years.

The AER has covered the cost of his flights, hotels and meals. The regulator also reimbursed Moore for other travel-related expenses such as the mileage on his vehicle to drive to the Victoria airport and parking.

The costs added up to $11,308.03 between January 2017 and September 2018, according to expense documents obtained by CBC News through a freedom of information request.

Moore is the third executive to be found to be living in B.C. and billing travel costs to the regulator.

Previously, CBC News reported that former CEO Jim Ellis and executive vice president Jennifer Steber both travelled from the Penticton airport in B.C’s Okanagan Valley.

The AER declined an interview request.

In an emailed statement, spokeswoman Cara Tobin said the AER has paid for Moore to travel from B.C. since 2014.

“Mr. Moore was hired because of his specialized expertise in key pieces of energy and environmental legislation. The agreement was approved by the AER’s General Counsel and the Chief Executive Officer,” she said.

The provincial government sets the budget for the AER, but the oil and gas industry itself funds the regulator through administrative fees.

Tristan Goodman, with the Explorers and Producers Association, which represents junior and mid-sized oil and gas companies, said this is one of the reasons why it is time for significant changes at the regulator.

“There is frustration with people that are spending an increasing amount of time not focused on the regulatory work. Are there situations where it is acceptable to have people somewhere else? I’m sure some unique cases. But as a general rule, the positions are in Alberta,” he said in an interview.

The culture of the organization, its commitment to its objective, and how it delivers services all need to be examined, he said.

“We probably want to see more focus here and to get back to the mandate of the regulator to make sure that’s moving in the right direction,” said Goodman, who worked for the AER for 15 years.

Moore’s salary was $195,382 in 2016, Steber’s was $373,547 in 2015, and Ellis’s was $609,034 in 2017.

In December 2018, when CBC News first reported on Ellis and Steber travelling from B.C., the AER said its board of directors was unaware of the issue but would order a thorough review of its practices.

“The AER Board conducted a comprehensive review of the organization’s travel policy and changed it to tighten the controls on travel and telecommuting. Mr. Moore’s agreement is aligned with the updated policy,” said Tobin.

The bulk of Moore’s expenses are for hotels and airfare. In one instance, he received free accommodation while in Calgary and compensated the host with a $150 gift card from Hudson’s Bay, which was expensed it to the AER.

Moore still works at the AER, while Ellis resigned late last year. Steber’s retirement was effective in January.

The AER would not say whether it is covering the cost of any other executives to commute from outside the province.

The AER is the single regulator of energy development in Alberta — from application and exploration, to construction and operation, to decommissioning, closure and reclamation.

Who were the Alberta public sector’s biggest earners in 2017? by Keith Gerein and Janet French, June 24, 2018, Edmonton Journal

[ Why leave out AER’s Jim Ellis, who earned over $700,000.00 in 2016? Too much hanky panky going on? ]

Health executives, deputy ministers and pathologists continued to be among the best-paid members of Alberta’s public sector last year, according to new data released by the province.

The so-called annual “sunshine list” of the government’s top compensated employees is required to be released by June 30, but the province decided to disclose it more than a week early this year.

Many provincially funded boards, agencies and commissions have also released their 2017 figures, although the list is not complete. The University of Alberta and the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, for example, have yet to reveal their top earners.

Here are some of the highlights from the data that is available so far.

Government staff
The government’s most highly compensated civil servant last year was Marcia Nelson, deputy minister of executive council, who took home $472,261 in salary and benefits.

Ray Gilmour, associate deputy minister of executive council and deputy minister of operations, was next with $434,920 in salary and benefits.

Seven pathologists, who work for the justice ministry and solicitor general, were also among the top government earners. Chief medical examiner Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim earned $404,049 in 2017, while the other six were paid between $358,000 and $368,000.

Fourteen government employees received more than $300,000 in total compensation, and 88 people earned more than $200,000 last year.

John Heaney

Premier Rachel Notley’s controversial former chief of staff, John Heaney, earned $287,122 last year.

Heaney resigned from the role in August 2017, then was re-hired by the government as an executive adviser two months later. Alberta’s information and privacy commissioner is investigating a complaint that Heaney interfered with freedom of information requests.

Three employees were granted severance in excess of $100,000 each, including Debra Ranville, a senior manager with environment and parks, who received $245,379 in severance.

The former director of budgeting, forecasting and reporting for the environment ministry received the money as part of an October 2017 legal settlement with government, the details of which are not public.

This year, all Government of Alberta employees who earned more than $108,784 had their salaries, cash and non-cash benefits disclosed. That number turned out to be 3,359 staff, down from 3,551 included on the previous year’s list.

The government has maintained a policy of pay freezes for non-unionized employees, and has taken additional steps to rein in compensation in other parts of the public sector.

Boards, agencies and commissions
For employees of boards, agencies and commissions, the threshold this year to be included on the sunshine list climbed to $127,765 in total compensation.

The data released to date shows that David Erickson, the president and CEO of the Alberta Electric System Operator, was the top earner in 2017 with $926,976 in pay and benefits. That represents an increase of nearly $50,000 from his earnings in 2016.

Next on the list were three health executives, including the CEOs of Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health, followed by several pathologists from Calgary Laboratory Services.

The highest severance payout listed so far was $442,557 to Jay Spark, the University of Alberta’s former vice provost and associate vice-president of human resources. Spark now runs his own consulting firm, and was hired by Mount Royal University’s board of governors to help negotiate a new contract with that school’s staff.

Jason Dewling, the former vice-president of academic and research at Olds College, received severance of $378,086.

An agreement with former Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission CEO Dwight “Bill” Robinson featured a severance payout of $165,808. Robinson left the role about six months before his contract expired.

Health agencies
Alberta Health Services president and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu was the health authority’s top paid employee, receiving more than $575,000 in base pay last year along with more than $78,000 in “other” compensation (non-taxable benefits).

Second on the list was Francois Belanger, vice-president and chief medical officer, who earned nearly $503,000 in base compensation and $68,000 in benefits.

The health authority had five people who surpassed the half-million mark in total compensation.

A total of 2,229 AHS employees reached the threshold in 2017 that required them to be included on the sunshine list, down from 2,335 the previous year.

The health authority is by far the province’s largest employer, with more than 100,000 staff on its payroll.

AHS paid out more than $3.2 million in severance in 2017, more than double the $1.4 million from the previous year. The biggest cheque went to Ann Colbourne, the former senior medical director of transformation and innovation, who received more than $309,000 in severance in addition to $320,000 in salary and benefits.

Colbourne is the new board chairwoman of NorQuest College and gave a $1 million donation to the college this week.

Former AHS senior program director David Matear received severance of more than $308,000.

At Covenant Health, president and CEO Patrick Dumelie was paid nearly $539,000 in base compensation in 2017 — a slight drop from the previous year — along with $32,000 in non-taxable benefits.

Dumelie was the only Covenant employee to break the half-million-dollar mark, though the Catholic health agency had five people earn more than $300,000 in total compensation last year.

Other top earners: [All earning much less than Jim Ellis!]

• Ethan Flynn, Calgary Lab Services pathologist: $549,018

• Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates: $488,206

• Michael Law, chief operating officer of Alberta Electric System Operator: $487,420

• Harpal Brar, executive director of Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission: $448,735

• Andrew Neuner, CEO of Health Quality Council of Alberta: $406,321

• Tracy Edwards, president and CEO of Keyano College: $401,149

• Lorna Rosen, deputy minister of Treasury Board and finance: $397,638

• Colleen Volk, deputy minister of energy: $374,596

• Jason Russell Krips, deputy minister of economic development and trade: $363,380

• Shannon Marchand, deputy minister of community and social services: $361,989

• David Morhart, deputy minister of Service Alberta: $361,724

• Darlene Bouwsema, deputy minister of children’s services: $360,490

• Curtis Clarke, deputy minister of education: $358,522

• Gitane De Silva, senior representative to the United States: $357,711

• Alan Casson, senior provincial medical adviser: $341,729

• Karen Grimsrud, chief medical officer of health: $322,079

Alberta’s highest paid public agency head earned $926,976 last year by Keith Gerein, Updated [now includes AER’s Jim Ellis]: July 4, 2018, Edmonton Journal

That’s according to the 2017 “sunshine list” for Alberta’s boards, agencies and commissions, which were required to disclose the compensation information of their top earning employees by June 30.

According to provincial rules, the threshold to be included on the sunshine list this year climbed to $127,765 in total compensation, including salary, cash benefits and non-cash benefits.

Besides the three top executives, the highest echelons of the list include the presidents of the University of Alberta and University of Calgary, along with a handful of health leaders.

The list also discloses significant severance payments, the biggest of which was a $540,000 payout to Brent Quinton, MacEwan University’s former vice-president of finance and administration.

Quinton left his job last September, not long after MacEwan revealed staffers were tricked into transferring $11.8 million into scammers’ accounts through a phishing scam. No one has made a link between that event and Quinton’s departure.

More than $28.4 million in severance was distributed last year to the 251 employees of boards, agencies and commissions who were included in the sunshine list.

Top earners from Alberta’s public boards, agencies and commissions in 2017:

• David Erickson, president and CEO of Alberta Electric System Operator: $926,976 in total compensation.

• Guy Kerr, president and CEO of Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta: $876,022 in total compensation.

• Jim Ellis, president and CEO of Alberta Energy Regulator: $724,525 in total compensation.

• David Turpin, president of the University of Alberta: $691,180 in total compensation.

• Verna Yiu, president and CEO of Alberta Health Services: $653,734 in total compensation.

• Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary: $637,414 in total compensation.

• David Linder, executive director of the Alberta Securities Commission: $605,819 in total compensation.

• Wendy Gosse, vice-president of Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta: $594,055 in total compensation.

• Randall Morck, University of Alberta business professor and chair: $591,957 in total compensation.

• Francois Belanger, vice-president and chief medical officer for Alberta Health Services: $571,102 in total compensation.

• Patrick Dumelie, president and CEO of Covenant Health: $570,337 in total compensation.

• Ronald Helmhold, vice-president of Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta: $564,955 in total compensation.

***

Did Diana Daunheimer’s Nov 1, 2018 comment to a Global News article lead to the article below by Tony Seskus and Kyle Bakx, CBC News?

Diana Daunheimer, Nov 1, 2018

How true and the irony of the fact that the CEO of the AER, Jim Ellis, appears to reside in Penticton, BC, expensing about $4000 per month in travel costs:

AER Expense Disclosures Jim Ellis:

“13-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.96 Receipt
18-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.36 Receipt
21-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 32.66 Receipt
21-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 38.88 Receipt
25-Jun-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 531.30 Receipt
25-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 56.10 Receipt
28-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 18.00 Receipt
28-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 50.64 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 359.36 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 35.28 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.72 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 56.10 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 558.86 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 44.04 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 33.84 Receipt
24-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 75.00 Receipt
24-Jul-18 Lunch Calgary AER meetings $ 9.21 Receipt
30-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 45.48 Receipt
31-Jul-18 Breakfast Calgary Meeting with Dave Pryce (Pryce Consulting) $ 47.88 Receipt
31-Jul-18 Dinner Calgary Meeting with Alex Pourbaix (Cenovus) $ 60.73 Receipt
2-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 17.52 Receipt
2-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.56 Receipt
7-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 350.96 Receipt
7-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 53.76 Receipt
9-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 38.64 Receipt
9-Aug-18 Breakfast Calgary Meeting with Craig Watt (Alberta Energy) $ 64.26 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 361.06 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Parking Calgary Meeting with Lance Mortlock (Ernst & Young) $ 16.80 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 43.80 Receipt
16-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 39.36 Receipt
20-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 668.06
27-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 201.60
27-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.20 Receipt
28-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 385.61
30-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 42.24 Receipt
4-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 376.16
4-Sep-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.20 Receipt
10-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 340.46
17-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 325.76
24-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 342.56
1-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 562.01
10-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 311.06
18-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 334.16
29-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 317.36″

***

Alberta Energy Regulator spent more than $14,000 flying boss to weekly meetings, Airfare tops $14,000 for transporting CEO from B.C. home to Alberta offices by Tony Seskus and Kyle Bakx, Nov 08, 2018, CBC News

The chief executive of Alberta’s oil and gas regulator no longer lives in the province and the organization is spending thousands of dollars to cover frequent flights from his home in B.C. to meetings in Calgary and Edmonton.

Expense reports [posted by Diana Daunheimer to the Global News article a week ago] posted on the Alberta Energy Regulator website show that from last November until the end of October, the organization regularly paid for CEO Jim Ellis to fly from his home in Penticton, B.C. to Alberta.

CBC News counted nearly 50 trips, mostly return airfares between Calgary and Penticton, to transport Ellis for the express purpose of attending AER meetings. [Couldn’t he have attended the meetings by phone? Or is there not enough room for hanky panky by telephone?]

A tally of those flights shows costs topping $14,600, not including airfare change fees.

The AER board approved the arrangement earlier this year after Ellis moved to Penticton for “personal, family reasons.”

But a spokeswoman for the NDP government said it was disappointing to learn such expenses had been approved, adding the government has worked to rein in salaries and perks at provincial agencies, boards and commissions.

“We’ll continue to make sure dollars are well spent at government agencies and will be directing the AER not to allow this arrangement in the future,” Kate Toogood said in an email. [Pfffft, AER doesnt give a shit what the govt of the day “says.” The AER is the oil and gas industry, and it does what it likes, including breaking the law. The feeble NDP do nothing, no matter how badly the AER breaks the law.]

Ellis, who Albertans learned last week is leaving the position at the end of January after five years with the organization, did not file accommodation expenses while attending the Alberta meetings.

The provincial government sets the budget for the AER but the industry itself funds the regulator through administrative fees.

In a statement to CBC News, the AER said that Ellis initially paid for weekly travel to Calgary himself, using the cheapest fares available.

“However, frequent changes to his itinerary caused by AER business resulted in increasing change fees,” it said.

“The AER considered reimbursing Mr. Ellis for these ongoing costs, but concluded that it would be more cost effective to simply coordinate and pay for his travel.

“The AER Board therefore reached an agreement, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, to pay for weekly travel. This arrangement was also independently vetted by the AER’s Finance department.”

The AER said it does not pay for any other travel or accommodation expenses related to this arrangement.

All of these travel expenses are available on the public record and are clearly documented on the AER website.

According to the regulator’s financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2018, Ellis is paid a base salary of $525,000. Total compensation is stated as $728,000, including cash and non-cash benefits.

The next person to hold the job will be paid a maximum base salary of $396,720 due to changes in provincial regulation.

Peter Bowal, an expert on board governance at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, said paying for people to regularly commute from one province to work in another creates both practical and symbolic issues.

“It’s a personal decision where you live and the province you choose is a personal decision,” Bowal said.

“I think if you’ve chosen to take one of the top jobs in the province you have to make a commitment to that province.” [Maybe not if that job helped pollute the province with toxic chemicals]

At the federal level, Bowal said people appointed by cabinet to a top, full-time job at an agency are required as a term of that appointment to live within the national capital region or a reasonable commuting distance.

“I think it’s basically understood in the province — if it’s not explicitly stated, it would be probably implied — that one has to live fairly close to where they work, especially top management,” Bowal said.

It was announced last week that Ellis would be leaving his post atop the AER at the end of January.

Prior to his appointment in 2013, he’d held deputy minister positions in the Alberta government, serving in the departments of energy and environment.

Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Jim Ellis to resign in January, Regulator says move had been planned for months but comes a day after it issued an apology by CBC News, November 22, 2018 [Really? Not because of Diana Daunheimer’s shrewd investigating and public commenting, copied below?]

***

John Bravo
Dont worry, that witch #Notley will find a way to blame #BC for the mess in her own backyard and say we caused it because she couldnt stop crying long enough to get the pipe. And BC is supposed to be convinced that Alberta bitumen wont poison our land, rivers,streams and prime Ocean fronts! Ya right. #LIAR #BuildTheBCWall

Diana Daunheimer
How true and the irony of the fact that the CEO of the AER, Jim Ellis, appears to reside in Penticton, BC, expensing about $4000 per month in travel costs:

AER Expense Disclosures Jim Ellis:

“13-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.96 Receipt
18-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.36 Receipt
21-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 32.66 Receipt
21-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 38.88 Receipt
25-Jun-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 531.30 Receipt
25-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 56.10 Receipt
28-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 18.00 Receipt
28-Jun-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 50.64 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 359.36 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 35.28 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 66.72 Receipt
13-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 56.10 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 558.86 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 44.04 Receipt
23-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 33.84 Receipt
24-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 75.00 Receipt
24-Jul-18 Lunch Calgary AER meetings $ 9.21 Receipt
30-Jul-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 45.48 Receipt
31-Jul-18 Breakfast Calgary Meeting with Dave Pryce (Pryce Consulting) $ 47.88 Receipt
31-Jul-18 Dinner Calgary Meeting with Alex Pourbaix (Cenovus) $ 60.73 Receipt
2-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 17.52 Receipt
2-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.56 Receipt
7-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 350.96 Receipt
7-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 53.76 Receipt
9-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 38.64 Receipt
9-Aug-18 Breakfast Calgary Meeting with Craig Watt (Alberta Energy) $ 64.26 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 361.06 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Parking Calgary Meeting with Lance Mortlock (Ernst & Young) $ 16.80 Receipt
13-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 43.80 Receipt
16-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 39.36 Receipt
20-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 668.06
27-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 201.60
27-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.20 Receipt
28-Aug-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 385.61
30-Aug-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 42.24 Receipt
4-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 376.16
4-Sep-18 Taxi Calgary AER meetings $ 46.20 Receipt
10-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 340.46
17-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 325.76
24-Sep-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 342.56
1-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 562.01
10-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 311.06
18-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 334.16
29-Oct-18 Airfare (return) Penticton to Calgary AER meetings $ 317.36″

***

The president and CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator, Jim Ellis, will resign early next year.

The AER says the move has been in the works for the past several months and will take effect at the end of January.

The Friday announcement comes a day after the regulator apologized and distanced itself for an internal presentation by a senior official that put the estimated liability of cleaning up abandoned energy infrastructure in Alberta at $260 billion.

Liability estimates lay out the costs of reclaiming old oil wells, pipelines and tailings ponds.

The AER news release Thursday said the $260-billion estimate was a “worst-case scenario.” The regulator said its current liability estimate is closer to $60 billion.

Ellis joined the AER in June 2013 as the first CEO of the newly formed regulator.

Prior to the appointment, Ellis served as Alberta’s deputy minister of environment from 2008 to 2011. He worked on environmental frameworks in the oilsands region, climate change initiatives and improvements [eg , massive deregulation] to the regulatory system.

He then served as deputy energy minister.

13 COMMENTS

John Gallant

Sorry Ellis, but you told the truth, and the oil industry doesn’t like that.

No cushy oil company executive job for you after your retirement!

Diana Daunheimer @John Gallant
Are you sure about that?

Or did Robert Wadsworth tell the truth? He was after all, the VP of Closure and Liability and it was his job to know these values. Jim Ellis spent most of his time tooting the horn of the AER at various conferences and speaking engagements, across the globe, or steakhouses in Red Deer. More of a PR man, than a liability expert.

Do you really believe that remediating and reclaiming over 400,000 well sites and the tens of thousands of associated facilities, some 700 gas processing plants , hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipelines, 9 massive bitumen mining operations and hundreds of insitu operations and related processing facilities, will only cost $60 billion?

Using common sense calculations applied to the existing infrastructure, and considering the timing of the resignation, it would stand to reason, the more honest party here, was Wadsworth.

John Gallant @Diana Daunheimer

You are absolutely right, and I stand corrected. Wadsworth was telling the truth, but the oil industry denies any of his numbers.

Going by the article above, which doesn’t even mention Wadsworth by name, it looked like Ellis was quitting because it was his numbers that said $260 billion.

I had read this correctly in other news venues, but mistook the names in this article. Thanks.

Will DeLorme @Diana Daunheimer
Your issues with Alberta O&G run very deep.

Diana Daunheimer @John Gallant
Most welcome.

The CBC could and should up their journalist game. Address the issues of liabilities head on, as hundreds of billions will impact all of Canada, and this now public liable value, destroys the rhetoric of CAPP, COSIA, the other 200 industry funded lobby and synergy groups, the Feds, Notley, Kenney et al. that continually use the talking point that Alberta’s industry is operating responsibly and sustainably.

Diana Daunheimer @Will DeLorme
About 2000m deep.

Jackie Claxton

Just so everyone understands, the fossil fuel industry and their quisling operatives in the legislature and captured regulatory institutions run government… not your democratic representatives.

If that wasn’t clear before, it should be now.

Diana Daunheimer

Always more to the story. Jim Ellis has been living in Penticton BC, since at least Feb of 2018 and expensing about $4000 per month in travel costs. See AER expense disclosures for proof. I expect the incongruity of the CEO of the AER, residing in the province habitually castigated by Notley for the Transmountain mess, was compromising to the organization.

Where is your journalist integrity, and investigative prowess CBC?

To add, this liability fiasco, shows that either the VP of Closure and Liability for the AER, Robert Wadsworth, or the CEO Jim Ellis, are being dishonest about the value of oil, gas, coal and bitumen liabilities in the province. Is this resignation an admission? I expect that Mr. Wadsworth’s values are accurate and Mr. Ellis’s media release was damage control.

It is time to reevaluate REDA, and review the mandate and operations of the AER. To have a resource regulatory body operate as 100% industry funded corporation, which is not an agent of the Crown, is not beholden to the Public Service Act, owes no duty of care to the public, has no public interest or public health mandate, which can not be held legally liable for any of their regulatory actions or inactions is insupportable. The AER exists to obfuscate and violate the basic constitutional rights of Albertans, while permitting the industry to use our environment as a waste dump for industry operations, without proper monitoring, testing or enforcement, all under the auspice of REDA as a jurisdictional, self-regulated and indemnified blockade.

Kathleen Jaques @Diana Daunheimer

I was very sorry to see that the NDP review of the >300 Government of Alberta Agencies Boards and Councils doesn’t seem to be going anywhere these days. In 2015 it was announced that they were all going to be reviewed. I believe the number that have been reviewed currently sits at 60 (i.e. only 20%).

Diana Daunheimer @Kathleen Jaques
I agree, they made it only so far, cut a few exorbitant salaries, amalgamated, or disbanded a couple a,b,c’s and then lost all momentum.

Notley was a very vocal gadfly of the AER, when environment critic in opposition, even threw out the “banana republic” line. Notley claimed putting Gerald Protti, from Encana, at the helm, was the fox guarding the hen house. Her election platform promised a review of the mandate of the AER, and from what I gather, they might have looked over REDA, likely were lobbied incessantly, then chose to quietly endorse the regulator, with Energy Minister (mostly in hiding) Margaret Mc-Cuaig Boyd, claiming to the media, “It works well. Industry likes it.”

After Protti’s term was up, the NDP approved Gordon Lambert, previously from Suncor, Imperial and TransAlta and new Chair is Sheila O’Brien from NOVA Corporation, Petro-Canada, Pan-Arctic Oil, and Amoco. I guess foxes guarding the house are fine, as long as they are foxes of your choosing.

Head of Alberta regulator to resign in January after $260-billion oilpatch cleanup estimate leads to apology by Carl Meyer, November 2nd 2018, National Observer

The president of Alberta’s fossil fuel industry regulator will resign in January, after the organization publicly apologized for the alarm caused by its $260-billion estimate of financial liabilities in the province’s oilpatch.

Jim Ellis, president and chief executive officer of the Alberta Energy Regulator, will be resigning effective Jan. 31, 2019, the organization announced Friday. He became president of the regulator in June 2013.

Alberta energy regulator president Jim Ellis will resign Jan. 31. AER says the announcement is “unrelated” to #PriceofOil investigation that revealed AER’s estimated $260-billion cleanup cost for Alberta fossil fuel industry: https://bit.ly/2JxBoek

The announcement comes on the heels of a Nov. 1 report by National Observer, Global News, the Toronto Star and StarMetro Calgary that revealed the regulator’s stunning internal estimate of the cost of cleaning up aging and inactive oil and gas exploration wells, facilities, pipelines and toxic tailings ponds from oilsands mines.

The estimated financial liabilities, contained in a presentation by the regulator’s vice-president of closure and liability Robert Wadsworth, were $200 billion greater than a previous public estimate of just over $58 billion.

The AER said the decision for Ellis to resign “has been in the planning stages for the past several months.”

“The story you reference is unrelated to today’s announcement,” said AER’s communications and international relations director Bob Curran, referring to the liabilities report.

The documents were released as part of a joint investigation for the ongoing Price of Oil series, and obtained under freedom of information legislation. The news report led to questions in the Alberta and federal legislatures and a statement by the regulator that the “staggering” numbers in its presentation sparked “concern and confusion.”

The resignation statement quotes AER Chair Sheila O’Brien crediting Ellis for having “built a new organization from the ground up,” and having “led a team that focused on initiatives that have delivered more than $2 billion in industry savings while protecting public safety and the environment.”

It said the board of the AER will begin a “broad-based search” for a new CEO “immediately” to ensure “continuity of leadership in the organization.”

Jim Ellis, Head of Alberta Energy Regulator stepping down by Emma McIntosh, Nov. 2, 2018, Toronto Star

CALGARY—The president and CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will resign from his position, the organization said Friday.

Jim Ellis will leave the job on Jan. 31, 2019, a decision that has been “in the planning stages for the past several months,” the AER said in a press release. In a statement, AER chair Sheila O’Brien said Ellis’ “leadership and strategic vision” have been crucial for the regulator, which oversees the development of oil, oilsands, natural gas and coal projects in the province.

“The AER Board wishes Jim all the very best in the future and offers our gratitude for his service and the legacy he leaves at the AER,” she said.

Ellis has led the regulator since it was created in 2013, the result of merging two oil and gas development-related government agencies together. The AER said it would begin the search for his replacement “immediately.”

On Thursday, the AER apologized for a “staggering” presentation, made last February by one of its highest-ranking officials that warned the province’s oilpatch that it could be sitting on an estimated $260 billion in financial liabilities. That’s more than $200 billion greater than the previous calculation made public by the regulator at $58.65 billion.

The details of the presentation, given by the regulator’s vice-president of closure and liability Robert Wadsworth, were made public Thursday in a report by the National Observer, Global News, the Toronto Star and StarMetro Calgary.

Read more: What would it cost to clean up Alberta’s oilpatch? $260 billion, a top official warns

The joint investigation is “unrelated” to Ellis’ resignation, said AER spokesperson Bob Curran in a statement on Friday.

In response, the AER said the number in Wadsworth’s presentation was based on a “worst-case scenario” of a complete industry shut down, and using it was an “error in judgment and one we deeply regret.” It also said the higher estimate had “not been validated by AER.”

The statement appeared to be at odds with Wadsworth’s presentation notes, which said the $260-billion figure was likely to be a low estimate.

The $58-billion calculation, according to Wadsworth’s presentation notes, is based on self-reported numbers from industry. The $260-billion estimate, meanwhile, was “calculated internally” by AER’s own experts.

Wadsworth has declined to give an interview about his remarks.

The liability estimate factors in the costs of shutting down and cleaning up oil-and-gas sites at the end of their usefulness. That includes inactive wells, pipelines and tailings ponds in the oilsands.

Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Jim Ellis resigns effective January by Postmedia News with files from The Canadian Press, November 2, 2018, Calgary Herald

The first and only CEO of the Alberta Energy Regulator will leave early next year, it was announced Friday, a day after apologizing for estimating that cleaning up after the province’s oil and gas industry would cost $260 billion.

Jim Ellis, who joined the newly formed regulator as president and chief executive in May 2013, is to resign effective Jan. 31.

“Jim’s leadership and strategic vision has been vital to the launch and growth of the Alberta Energy Regulator,” AER chairwoman Sheila O’Brien said in a release.

“He built a new organization from the ground up, ensuring that the needs of all stakeholders were embedded in the decision making framework of the AER.”

On Thursday, the AER said a presentation outlining the $260-billion cleanup cost was based on “a hypothetical worst-case scenario.” The sector’s accumulated environmental liability is currently estimated at $58.65 billion, it said.

The $260-billion figure was mentioned in speaking notes for a February presentation by the AER’s vice-president of closure and liability.

“This particular estimate was created for a presentation to try and hammer home the message to industry that the current liability system needs improvement,” the regulator said.

“Using these estimates was an error in judgment and one we deeply regret.”

In its release, the AER said Ellis’s resignation has been discussed for several months and that the board will immediately begin a search for his replacement.

Ellis previously worked as a deputy minister in Alberta’s energy and environment departments. Before joining the public service in 2006 he spent 23 years in the Canadian military.

The arm’s-length regulator overseeing oil and gas development in Alberta is run by a board appointed by the energy minister.

5 Comments, as usual, the most brilliant are by Diana Daunheimer

Diana Daunheimer
Always more to the story. Jim Ellis has been living in Penticton BC, since at least Feb of 2018 and expensing about $4000 per month in travel costs. See AER expense disclosures for proof. I expect the incongruity of the CEO of the AER, residing in the province habitually castigated by Notley for the Transmountain mess, was compromising to the organization.

To add, this liability fiasco, shows that either the VP of Closure and Liability for the AER, Robert Wadsworth, or the CEO Jim Ellis, are being dishonest about the value of oil, gas, coal and bitumen liabilities in the province. Is this resignation an admission? I expect that Mr. Wadsworth’s values are accurate and Mr. Ellis’s media release was damage control.

Diana Daunheimer
It is time to reevaluate REDA, and review the mandate and operations of the AER. To have a resource regulatory body operate as 100% industry funded corporation, which is not an agent of the Crown, is not beholden to the Public Service Act, owes no duty of care to the public, has no public interest or public health mandate, which can not be held legally liable for any of their regulatory actions or inactions is insupportable. The AER exists to obfuscate and violate the basic constitutional rights of Albertans, while permitting the industry to use our environment as a waste dump for industry operations, without proper monitoring, testing or enforcement, all under the auspice of REDA as a jurisdictional, self-regulated and indemnified blockade.

Doug Mackenzie
Diana’s back….we’ve missed her vitriol and misinterpretation of reality for a while now.

Doug Mackenzie
Anyone who states, without checking his numbers for glaring errors, that the oil industry cleanup liability is $61,000 per Albertan or a quarter of a million per household is in need of early retirement.

Bill Wylie
Doug Mackenzie – The person who released the overstated liability number was Robert Wadsworth who started at the AER in 2014 as a Vice President with no previous oil and gas experience. I wonder if in Wadsworth’s 24 year career in the armed forces (1984-2008) did he ever serve with Jim Ellis? Maybe that is why he got the plush job with the AER like some of the other ex-military people that moved into executive positions?

Doug Mackenzie
Bill Wylie, yes, and likely an agenda of overstatement in order to get a little funding, pretty much a military norm. And it seems an inherent assumption that Albertans are eco-rapists and don’t own calculators.

Diana Daunheimer
Meanwhile the AER continues to force companies into abandoning their assets via “Care and Custody” orders, all levied and viewable on the AER Compliance Dashboard, since Jan of 2018. Scollard, Borden, Canadian Oil & Gas International, Area 2 Energy, Questfire, Concerto, Kor Energy, Insch Commodities, Accurate Energy, Mika Resources, Desoto, Glencoe, Artisan, Sunstar, Lockhart, Lexin and Sequoia, all have been ordered by the AER “to remove fluids, lock and chain, identify hazards, and abandon licences, or pay security. Working interest participants are required to abandon or transfer.”

The contradiction of the AER claiming they are protecting the public interest, when in practice, they are loading up the OWF in a fervour, prior to the SCC ruling on the matter.

Diana Daunheimer
From the AER compliance dashboard, several examples of orders:

“Sequoia Resources Corp.
Care & Custody
2305 well licences
198 facility licences
697 pipeline licences

Canadian Oil & Gas International Inc.
Care & Custody
Licensee unable to provide care and custody of the licenced properties.
113 well licences, 8 facility licences

Area 2 Energy Ltd.
365 well licences, 1 facility licences, 9 pipeline licences
Licensee is required to remove fluids, lock and chain, identify hazards, and abandon licences, or pay security.

Questfire Energy Corp.
Care & Custody
Licensee unable to provide care and custody of the licenced properties.
2018-10-02
189 well licences, 6 facility licences
Operations suspended.”

Koch Varghese
AER concealed the probable cost of Oil sands waste clean upcost in favour of UCP. The fact was disclosed and Mr Ellis had no explanation to that effect.

Refer also to:

2019 06 09: More AER Hanky Panky? Alberta Auditor-General probing links between Alberta Energy Regulator and consultancy firm ICORE

2017 07 12: Alberta ‘sunshine’ list partly cloudy; It pays well to lie & deregulate: AER CEO Jim Ellis pay & benefits: $737,060 in 2016, $621,680.71 in 2015

2017 07 08: Alberta Energy Regulator ramping up the propaganda, ready to expand global impact

2016 09 09: Is AER President & CEO Jim Ellis lying? To make AER look like a regulator? To impress Canadians because of NEB’s & Peter Watson’s (past Deputy Minister Alberta Environment, helped cover-up Encana’s law violations, contamination of Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, tried to bully Ernst silent) fall into public disgrace?

2016 06 28: AER calls itself a regulator? A law enforcer? Legally immune, grossly over paid, law-violating scaredy-cat more like it. AER backtracks again, to keep angry oil patch execs and banks happy.

2015 07 03: AER, Chair Protti and CEO Ellis: WHERE ARE YOU? ‘Very special person’ one of victims of fatal Fox Creek Blanket Approval Frac Experiment Camp knife attack

2009 02 21: Cupid’s arrow pierces energy regulator Alberta ERCB [became AER]

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