Recently Mr Kenney told municipal leaders in Cochrane that in addition to multi-billion dollar deficits and rising debt levels Alberta was drowning in red tape. To illustrate his point Kenney said it takes a week to approve a conventional oil well in Texas but a year or more to approve one in Alberta.
Hmmm, wondered Ms Soapbox, where did Mr Kenney get these facts?
After some digging she found a CAPP report entitled “A Competitive Policy and Regulatory Framework for Alberta’s Upstream Oil and Natural Gas Industry.” At the back of the report was a discussion about jurisdictional differences in approving well applications which said the median review time for a new well in Texas was indeed 7 days.
However, it also said the median review time for a routine well in Alberta was 2 days, the median review time for a non-routine technical well was 5 days and the longest median review time (for a non-routine, participant-involvement well) was 34 days. In other words, the CAPP report flat out contradicted Mr Kenney’s statement that it takes a year or more to approve a conventional oil well in Alberta. (If Mr Kenney was relying on another information source Ms Soapbox would be happy to share it with her readers).
This CAPP report forms the foundation of a briefer CAPP report called “Oil and Gas Priorities for a Prosperous Alberta”. Given that the UCP’s energy critic Mr Panda endorsed the recommendations and concerns set out in the summary CAPP report—he said they reinforce what the UCP has been saying all along—it’s safe to assume the UCP also endorses the recommendations and concerns set out in greater detail in the foundation CAPP report.
Or is it?
Contrary to the UCP’s mantra that Premier Notley’s support of the energy industry is “half hearted” and her government is in bed with its “NDP cousins in BC” and their “Liberal BFF Trudeau” in Ottawa, CAPP gives Notley and her government full credit for their “tireless advocacy” in championing the need for the Trans Mountain expansion. Presumably the best we could hope for from Mr Kenney on this point is mumble, mumble, Notley, mumble, mumble.
CAPP said the industry supports effective and efficient climate policies that take cumulative costs into account and recommended reinvesting carbon tax revenues in energy-intensive trade-exposed (EITE) sectors, (it also recommended protecting EITE from the full impact of some climate policies). Jason Kenney has been crystal clear that the first item on his hit list is Notley’s climate policies, particularly the carbon levy. Perhaps the UCP’s endorsement of CAPP’s position on climate policies comes with a caveat: we’re kinda, sorta on side with the industry, depending on who we’re talking to at the time. Or maybe the UCP didn’t read the report and were simply babbling.
CAPP also said the industry supports the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and endorses its implementation in a manner consistent with the Constitution and Canada’s laws. For someone who never misses an opportunity to chime in on federal policies Mr Kenney has been strangely silent on this issue and we have no idea whether Mr Kenney stands with industry or not on this one.
This isn’t the first time Mr Kenney’s UCP have tried to rile up Albertans with misinformation and dodgy facts.
Kenney’s shadow energy critic Mr Panda chastised Premier Notley for the delay in building Trans Mountain saying he’d worked at Reliance and built the world’s largest petrochemical complex in just 3 years. His example is utterly irrelevant given the Reliance complex is a refinery not a pipeline and was built in India where the environmental, health and safety regulations are less stringent than in Alberta. Recall that one of Mr Kenney’s major objections to foreign oil (it’s “unethical”) is based on the fact foreign producers do not operate to Alberta’s higher standards. Apparently, this concern about ethics can be selectively applied whenever it suits the UCP.
Mr Barnes, UCP finance and treasury critic said investment is leaving Alberta to go to the US. He referred to two companies, Plains All American and EPIC, that were going to invest in Texas. There’s no evidence either of these companies intended to invest in Alberta; in any event Plains is a smallish company, less than a third of the size of Canada’s interprovincial pipeline companies and EPIC is going to convert an existing natural gas liquids line to crude. Both companies were constructing their facilities entirely within the state of Texas. Any comparison to investing in an interprovincial pipeline like Trans Mountain is silly.
The power of the pen
Apparently, Mr Kenney and the UCP believe when the facts don’t support your case any old factoid will do.
This may satisfy gullible Albertans, but it should trouble organizations like CAPP who may be under the illusion that their vision for Alberta aligns with Mr Kenney’s.
They have not yet learned their lesson, anyone can propose policy but it’s Mr Kenney who holds the pen.