Notley says moving some NEB operations to Ottawa is ‘dumb’

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Photo by Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press

EDMONTON, A.B. — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says that a proposal to move part of the National Energy Board’s operations to Ottawa is “dumb,” and that she’s opposed to the proposal.

A federal panel that is looking into the modernization of the NEB made the proposal to move the NEB’s board of directors, the government co-ordination office, electricity transmission staff, and a new energy statistical agency to Ottawa.

The panel said however that moving all of the Board, which is focused on pipeline regulations, would prove too disruptive, and that other proposals in the report better address concerns around bias stemming from the office being based along with the oil and gas industry in Calgary.

Notley says she’s seen no evidence that the NEB is biased, in contrast to what some commenters have told the panel. She added that the Board is certainly not biased because of the regulator’s geography.

She says it makes sense for the regulator to be in Calgary for a full understanding of the industry they are regulating, and that moving the office makes as much sense as moving the Atlantic Opportunities Marketing Agency to Winnipeg.

The report on Monday proposed splitting the NEB into a regulatory body and an energy information agency, as well as extending the review time for projects and increasing engagement and consultations with First Nations and others.

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