Brilliant comments by Diana Daunheimer to the National Observer article below, with the best summary ever on AER/CAPP’s Evil Synergy Alberta:
This the way. Lobby, lobby, lobby.
CAPP and AUC, AGS, COSIA, CAGC, CAODC, CEPA, CERI, CHOA, CSPG, CSEG, CSUR, CIAC, CASA, CCS, CIM, CCC, CAC, CPIA, CIAC, CAPPA, CAPL, CAPLA, Enform, EPAC, GPAC, IASA, IEA, FHOA, HAI, OSDG, MAC, NRCan, NRCB, PSAC, PAAC, PTAC, PCOR, PJVA and WAC
All industry interests, which do not include protecting the environment or public health.
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really
something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to
get the hang of it!
It is complicated and broad, much broader than what I posted. I’ll take a moment to cut through the convolution, so you can appreciate it, as I have experienced and researched.
Industry has numerous routes of lobbying and influence, reaching into every corner of our lives, from our education system, community engagement, to every level of government.
Registered lobbying is the easiest to see on paper. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is the largest and most active lobby organization in Canada. Almost immediately, perhaps preceding any new environmental policies, CAPP is there to squash it. The reasons tend to repeat infinitely; too costly for industry and any increased environmental measures will hamper competitiveness. In other words, greed. Why our governments fail to protect the public interest, instead, caving to corporate manipulation, amounts to the same answer, greed, perhaps a healthy dose of corruption to boot.
Here is a link to the most recent registration by Tim McMillan of CAPP, from the Office of the Commissioner. Please take a look, not only at how many issues they are lobbying, but also how many departments they contact. Staggering.
The other slew of acronyms I posted above, are the myriad of additional industry funded or friendly organizations, for pipelines, upstream services, etc, all of which lobby or exert influence on municipal, provincial and federal governments. There are over 200 such organizations across Canada, all using industry funding for the most part.
Additionally, most major oil and gas company executives and VP’s serve as registered lobbyists, such as Russ Girling with TransCanada.
This is just the tip of the iceberg though, the lobbying and corporate pressures that are visible above the surface. What lies beneath?
At the community level in Alberta, we have this slimy system of lobbying, referred to as “synergy”. Synergy Alberta is partnered with, and partially fiscally supported by CAPP and the AER. In the past, the Government of Alberta also contributed, but recently have pulled funding. The rest of money for operations of these synergy groups, comes from invoicing industry.
Here is a list of Synergy Alberta groups:
Alberta Energy Corridor, BalCAP, Battle Lake Synergy, Battle Action Committee, Regional air-sheds such as PAMZ and the Peace, Calumet Synergy, CMAG, Clearwater synergy, Cochrane Pipeline Operators Assc, Crossfield District Synergy, FAAMA, Fox Creek Synergy, Genessee Synergy, LICA, Life in the Heartland, FAO, PAG, Peace Regional Synergy, Pembina Synergy, Rimbey Synergy, SPOG, VAPPA, WASP, Waterton Advisory, West Central Stakeholders, Wetaskiwin Synergy and Yellowhead Synergy.
I have participated in many meetings and interactions with SPOG and CMAG and they way they operate is disturbing, to say the least.
For instance, with CMAG, industry and AER reps, community members, perhaps a municipal councillor will generally meet at the local Smitty’s for breakfast, hosted by an “impartial facilitator” (who happens to be paid by industry and gets her breakfast paid for nearly every time by TransCanada, hardly impartial). Since witnessing several misleading and fabricated statements regarding local operations, such as Julia Fulford with the AER, stating that the well sites by our home have “no emissions”, I took to recording the meetings. Present after all, are elected officials and government employees. It outraged the group, and they kicked me out, while passing a Terms of Reference that states that no recording, visual or audio, can be taken at meetings and that meeting minutes can not be used in legal proceedings. All this information is accessible on the CMAG website in the TOR and meeting minutes.
The evolution of Synergy groups, generally follows the same path. It begins with local community concerns regarding industry activity or a serious incident. The Pembina Institute would be the most famous example of this, borne of the Lodgepole Pine sour gas blowout. CMAG came about because of CBM activity. The origins of these groups are respectable enough, however, the progression from community led, to industry controlled and colluded, is what is so disgraceful, and it happens every time.
Just look at what Pembina has become, a national eNGO, hosting galas in Toronto, with industry money. They don’t assist impacted residents at all, neither does any synergy group. In reality, this system operates more on the basis of discrediting harmed landowners and endorsing industry regardless of impacts. Industry moves in on these groups and uses money and power to change the dynamic and messaging, until they are nothing more than a subset of stakeholder relations departments pushing corporate interests. Controlled opposition at it’s finest. Community level lobbying.
Aside from industry infiltrating communities via synergy and four stacks with a side of sausage, industry also funds the air-shed groups in Alberta.
When we had a PAMZ air quality trailer on our land, the company shut in all their operations near our home, for the duration of testing. PAMZ, the AER and the company, then used this manipulated data set, that had no resemblance to air quality during full production, as a means to discredit our concerns over sour gas emissions. When industry pays for the operations of air-sheds doing community testing, they have ways to ensure they are not implicated in any non-compliances. Air quality lobbying.
More industry money is directed at influencing education. Major oil and gas operators are currently partners in the Alberta K-12 curriculum. They also sponsor industry propaganda at the Telus Science Centre, Glenbow Museum and promotion at Heritage Park. Industry funds numerous organizations that come to schools with corporate messaging guised as environmental initiatives, delivered by the likes of Earth Rangers and Inside Education.
Of course, industry has huge monetary influence in our post secondary institutions. The U of C is infamous for their oil and gas based agenda, led by the Haskayne School of Business and the School of Public Policy. Academic lobbying.
In fact, in Alberta, you will be hard pressed to find any eNGO that does not have industry money behind them. The Alberta Ecotrust is a prime example. Environmental lobbying.
Then you have your “charities” which are pro-industry, the most renowned is the Fraser Institute. Charitable lobbying.
Then you have industry in the communities, donating money to local schools, bonspiels, beer gardens and the other events and projects, yet, implementing proper emission reductions for priority pollutants, inspecting and maintaining pipelines and facilities or implementing and installing proper air and water quality monitoring to protect the public, is all too costly and lobbied against. Buy-off lobbying.
Finally, you have all the money industry spends on private meetings, the ones not on anyone’s books. Like how TransCanada met privately with members of AAMDC, which resulted in their resolution to endorse Energy East. Those AAMDC members had no knowledge of the tolls ($4.6 billion, at minimum) to Albertan’s, and had not read the take-or-pay contract for the project, nor seen an economic benefit analysis for our province. Must have been some meeting. Private lobbying.
These are all forms of how the industry petitions for and acquires support from the community, up to the federal level. Lobby, lobby, lobby.
If all this funding from synergy, lobby and enticement were re-directed, industry would easily have the financial capacity for emissions reductions, proper monitoring and enforcement, meant to protect public health and environmental sustainability.
What serves a community better, money put towards beer gardens, golf tournaments and awards shows (PTAC, EPAC, CAPP) or reducing hazardous pollutants and ensuring high pressure sour gas lines are properly maintained and inspected? Priorities are extremely out of place here.
There are billions being wasted on lobbying, propaganda, partisan alignments and Pete Club perks, and hearing industry complain about costs related to protecting public health is revolting. The fact that the federal government accepts this bullsh*t as means to delay policies in which they made a commitment, is worse.
Did you follow all that? 😉
All the best, Diana
Your detailed posts are appreciated.
The industry spends hundreds of thousands, even millions, rigging studies and results in their favour, rather than pay landowners their rightful compensation in damages caused by the industry. Government and regulators back them. Landowner property rights are fiction.
Thanks, and I like your short and sage comments:)
Property rights do not exist. Right of Entry in Alberta legislates you can not refuse exploration and production for resources on your land. Expropriation is the means for federal projects.
Agreed, industry spends millions on agreeable scientists, academics, biologists, engineers, geos, even doctors. APEGA is a sullied example of a captured professional organization, which is mandated to hold the health and wellness of the public and environment paramount, but never do.
Far from rightful compensation, industry and regulators still insist there are no harms incurred to public health. You can’t get a single doctor in this province to discuss the effects of industrial emissions on health. The Chair of the Maternal and Child Health program at the Alberta’s Children Hospital, is from Husky Energy.
The AER has no public health mandate. Certainly by intention, there has not been one comprehensive epidemiological study done in Canada to date, on the public health impacts of the oil and gas industry. The medical community has failed the public in this regard.
Rightful compensation will also remain fiction, until damages are duly acknowledged, and not paid to be obfuscated.
Nielle Hawkwood | a day ago
Diana says it all. We will never see anything change until Albertans are willing to stand up and demand protection for our environment and our present and future citizens. There is no time for delays – we have already delayed too long.
The Trudeau government and the oil patch are in agreement: Canada needs to delay plans to reduce the heat-trapping pollution that causes climate change because those actions will cost too much.
It’s a stunning retreat [Of course it is! From day one, why would anyone believe what Trudeau and or Catherine McKenna say?] from key promises and statements made by the government since its election in 2015. And it has left some environmentalists wondering whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is following the Trump administration’s race to the bottom on climate policy.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confirmed the news on Thursday during a conference call with reporters. She said that Canada would introduce plans that would delay tackling emissions of methane — a powerful heat-trapping gas — from the oil patch by two years, the CBC reported. [And, if Trudeau wins next election, they’ll delay four more years etc etc etc]
The Trudeau government and the Obama administration had promised last spring to cut methane emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.
The oil and gas industry’s main lobby group, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), pushed back a few months later calling for delays because they said moving too fast would be too costly.
“We had responded with what we thought would be an alternative approach to meeting that target,” said Vicki Ballance, CAPP’s director of climate and innovation, in an interview. “Having to do large retrofit schedules, and new installations, and all of those things are going to have costs for industry.”
McKenna said late on Friday that the government remained committed to its climate change goals. [Being committed is meaningless, without appropriate action.]
“We are absolutely committed to delivering the 40-45 per cent reductions from methane leaks by 2025 — in the most smart cost effective way,” the minister wrote on Twitter. [Being “absolutely committed” is even more meaningless, without appropriate action.]
And in an emailed response to questions from National Observer, McKenna’s spokeswoman Marie-Pascale Des Rosiers said the proposed delay to the start date “will allow industry more time to make changes to operations, and to budget the capital needed.” [Industry has known about their methane leaks for decades. They don’t need time or more concessions.]
The government says if the proposed regulations are implemented, its end-date target of 2025 would still be in place. It said it was simply carrying out its duty to listen to stakeholders.
But environmentalists see the proposed move as part of a bigger picture, with U.S. President Donald Trump moving to unwind federal methane rules and musing about pulling out of the Paris climate change agreements.
“This is the first real test of the federal pan-Canadian climate framework,” said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada.
“If they cave on methane regulations, then it’s a signal to everyone else that they can probably get them to back down on other measures as well.”
Stewart said he was skeptical about the government’s promise to hold to the 2025 end-date, since the regulations wouldn’t kick in until after the next federal election set for 2019.
“You’re promising that the next government will do something about that, which is not something that any government can really promise,” he said. …
The story of the delays and industry lobbying stretches back to last March.
The rollout plan, according to a senior government official’s presentation a few weeks after the announcement last year, would have involved draft regulations by this spring, and then implementation starting early in 2018, with everything in place by 2020.
But in a September assessment of the government’s draft model posted in an article by Stewart in Policy Options, CAPP said industry investment was down, and that the industry was competing with heightened U.S. production.
It was “not a good time to impose additional costs on industry,” the assessment noted. CAPP also said the switch imposed an “administrative burden.” [These are not additional costs, these are the ordinary costs of “doing business” and taking billions in profits, year after year after year]
The government hosted what it described as a “pre-consultation session” with the industry group in September, said Ballance.
The oil patch lobbyists then proposed that the government delay “regulatory implementation timing past 2020.” [Translation = never?]
McKenna’s spokeswoman Des Rosiers said that to “help inform” the drafting of the proposed regulations, Environment and Climate Change Canada “held very extensive consultations” with stakeholders, including “provinces, territories, industry, [environmental non-governmental organizations] [Env NGos are the worst synergizers of the bunch, betraying communities, public health and safety, and environment to enable industry’s pollution for financial gain of the organizations and or staff. Ernst often experienced their repeat betrayals to enable industry’s harms. Refer also to Diana Daunheimer’s comment above] and associations representing Indigenous peoples.”
“As a result of these consultations, a number of important changes were made to Canada’s proposed methane regulations…a key change is that Canada agreed to shift the implementation start,” wrote Des Rosiers. [That’s a lot of words to say “cave”]
“The changes in start date are an example of government listening to stakeholders.”
A ‘significant burden’ to reduce methane emissions?
Environmental groups and the oil industry disagree about the feasibility of an early start date for new pollution rules.
Ballance said the costs to industry to implement would be a “significant burden” in the “billions” of dollars, although she couldn’t give a more specific cost breakdown. [So? Industry is making multi billions in profits, even in the down turn]
Swift argued that “methane regulations are one area where major reductions can occur with relatively little cost to the industry.”
Even if Trump rolls back U.S. federal methane emissions, that wouldn’t affect limits on methane from oil and gas facilities in California, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Utah, said Stewart, so competitiveness shouldn’t be as high of a factor, he argued. [Emphasis added]
Editor’s note: This article was updated at 10:10 p.m. ET on Friday with a new comment from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.
No, Canada doesn’t need a second conservative party by Anthony Furey, Postmedia, April 24, 2017, Toronto Sun
Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary says he knows where ‘rot’ is at CBC: ‘We could save billions of dollars’
There’s nothing novel about a bunch of politicos getting together at a bar to complain about their own party. Yet, for some reason, we’re supposed to think Scott Gilmore’s New Conservative movement is something different.
Last month, the Maclean’s columnist and card-carrying Tory announced he was embarking on a cross-country tour of Canada to talk to Conservatives about whether they want to reboot their party or even create a new one.
They’re all sold-out and the first event is on Monday in Halifax with the second one coming to Toronto on Tuesday.
This all got underway in one of Gilmore’s recent columns headlined, “Confessions of a self-loathing Tory.” The gist of it is that the author is upset with the current crop of leadership candidates because they’re not progressive enough and therefore the party is heading in the wrong direction.
It’s time, Gilmore writes, for “a conservative party that believes in equality for all regardless of race, creed, language, sexual orientation, or gender — a party that doesn’t see feminism as a left-wing plot, that doesn’t worry if we don’t share the same values, and is not frightened of everyone and everything.”
Really? I mean talk about cliche. If the Broadbent Institute held an essay writing contest at an Occupy rally asking attendees to describe the evils of conservatives, that is approximately how the winning entry would read.
There’s little indication that this is a fair representation of the majority of Conservatives.
Yes, leadership candidate Brad Trost is unapologetic in his opposition to same-sex marriage. But guess what? Trost scored 0.11% support in the latest Mainstreet Research poll of Conservative members.
Plus, front-runners Maxime Bernier and Kevin O’Leary are social liberals and so are Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose, who were the original front-runners before it became clear they weren’t running.
Then there’s Kellie Leitch, who’s had the audacity to go full Hitler by supporting Canadian values, which she defines as promoting women’s rights, gay rights and racial and ethnic diversity. The horror.
Oh yeah, and the previous government wanted women to momentarily lift their niqabs during the most important ceremony known to civil society. But that’s it.
It’s true that divisions remain among the rank-and-file, the stereotype being Bay Street economic conservatives rubbing shoulders with Alberta evangelicals. But so what? This is going to happen in big tent parties. Politics is about bridging divides.
The NDP has a similar problem, with urban social justice warriors linked up with blue collar union activists. Despite the odds though the left has endured and lives to fight another day.
Conspiracy theories abound as to Gilmore’s true motives with this tour, not the least of which concerns the fact he’s married to Liberal cabinet minister Catherine McKenna and thus this must be a Trudeau plot to destroy the Conservatives from within. [OR, ARE THEY ARE THE SAME PARTY, HIDING THEIR IDENTICAL SPOTS?]
I doubt it. More likely, it’s just another case of an urban Tory who’s been watching too much CBC.
Gilmore promises to report back on what happened. My guess is it’ll be the same as right after the last election results and the same as what will happen in Toronto next month at the leadership convention.
People will talk about ideas and about the future of a party that’s still very much intact and more or less in the political centre.
They’ll agree on some points, disagree on others, someone will order another round, someone else will drunkenly plot something resembling a coup and then they’ll all go home and carry on with the movement.
That’s healthy and commendable. And rather than being what unfurls the federal Conservatives, it’ll likely just make them stronger. [Emphasis added]
Some comments to the article that follows:
Doug Mackenzie · Gerente general at Self-Employed
Anyone know where the methane is venting from ? Since gas companies actually want to collect and sell the stuff….
From gas migration and surface casing vent flows, from instrument and tank venting at crude oil and bitumen batteries, from transmission lines, gas plants and gas gathering systems, from futive emissions and from well testing. The AER St-60b is a good read on emissions.
Under D60, Alberta operators only have to consider conservation of waste gases, specifically routine venting, if volumes exceed 500 to 900 m3 per day, and the cost to tie in a well is $55,000 or under.
If SCVF is severe enough, some operators may produce the vent, currently there are over 10,000 reported leaking wells in the province.
From the St-60b.
Emissions from SCVF and GM
10 247 SCVF and GM wells emitted 86 e6 m3 of natural gas in 2015 compared with 9982 SCVF and GM wells and 84 e6 m3 of natural gas in 2014
Doug Mackenzie · Gerente general at Self-Employed
Diana Daunheimer, yes, St-60b is a good read, and shows that producers conservation rates are mostly about 99.5%, and 10,000 leaking wells ? Only 400,000 wells have been drilled in Alberta since Turner Valley days, so that just sounds like someone’s wild guess.
Wild guess? The AER is making a wild guess, with data that must be submitted by operators?
Wouldn’t surprise me. The AER doesn’t have a handle on much, does it?
But the 10, 247 SCVF/GM wells is part of that ST-60b good read. Take it up with the AER if you don’t believe them, that a lot of wells in the province leak.
Me, I’ve seen it, can walk to two leaking wells within 500m of our home. One is a sour gas well, bubbling gas, outside of the casing. The AER does not inform landowners when wells on their land are leaking, and refuse to instal proper signage for important safety precautions on wells, with vent flow or migration.
New rules curbing methane will give oilpatch a competitive edge, environment minister says by Amanda Stephenson, March 9, 2017, Calgary Herald
The federal government remains committed to curbing methane emissions from the oilpatch, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in Calgary on Thursday, but the new rules currently under development will make the Canadian oil and gas industry more competitive, not less.
Following a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, McKenna told reporters she discussed the issue of methane regulation during a private meeting with energy sector leaders earlier in the day.
“I had a great discussion with industry,” McKenna said. “We’re moving forward with industry, we’re going to develop thoughtful regulations, because we know it’s the right thing to do. It will reduce emissions, but it’s also a real opportunity for Canada.”
As part of its climate change commitments, the Canadian government has pledged to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.
One year ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former U.S. president Barack Obama jointly announced plans to reduce methane emissions as part of a broader North American clean energy and climate strategy. However, since the election of President Donald Trump, U.S. Republican lawmakers in Congress have repealed the Obama initiative.
That has raised concerns from energy companies on this side of the border. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said the Canadian industry could be put at a disadvantage to its U.S. competitors if it is forced to go it alone in taking on additional costs from reducing methane.
However, McKenna said Thursday that addressing methane leakage is actually one of the cheapest ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The government believes new limits on methane emissions along with other efforts to tackle climate change — including carbon pricing and investments in clean technology — are actually a competitive advantage for Canada, she said.
“This is about jobs, this is about growth. As we move into the clean growth century, everyone’s going to want to be the leader,” she said.
McKenna added that jurisdictions around the world are taking notice of Canada’s, and Alberta’s, efforts on the climate file — and the result has been new economic opportunities such as the signing of a free trade agreement with Europe.
“I was told directly by the commissioner on environment and energy from the European Union that the only reason that agreement was able to get over the finish line was that we were serious about climate action,” McKenna said.
Ensuring that protecting the environment goes hand in hand with economic growth and job creation will require innovation, McKenna said, but the federal government is committed to partnering with the energy sector. She said the government has already committed to investing $1 billion over four years to support clean technology in the natural resource sectors and sees a “huge opportunity” to continue working closely with industry.
“This is an opportunity for Canadian companies to find cleaner ways to develop our natural resources,” McKenna said. “And if there’s anyone who knows how to innovate, it’s Alberta. It’s Alberta and Alberta companies.”
McKenna did not provide an updated time frame for when the new methane rules will be published, but the government had previously indicated the draft regulations will be coming sometime this spring.