#Alberta; #EmissionsReduction; #Bill22; EEA; #ERA
Alberta, Jun 14 (Canadian-Media): The shuttering of Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA) and an end to cabinet approval for oilsands projects are proposed in an omnibus bill (Bill 22) introduced by the government of Alberta on June 11, media reports said.
EEA aimed to help Albertans make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.
But Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said that EEA duplicated work of ERA.
ERA. Image credit: Twitter handle
If Bill 22 is passed, most remaining programs and services that have been led by EEA will transition to ERA, an organization that has been helping industries and businesses save money and reduce emissions for more than 10 years.
Since 2009, more than $534 million have been committed by ERA to 161 projects that are worth $4 billion.
It is estimated that these projects would reduce emissions by almost 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030.
While ERA focuses on larger-scale emission reductions initiatives for industry, Nixon said it would also be mandated to include programs previously administered by EEA
The passing of BILL 22 would lead to the ultimate closure of EEA in September.
About two-thirds of the current staff of EEA will move to ERA, said Nixon.
There are 14 changes in the Bill 22 aimed at reducing what the government calls "red tape" in six different ministries.
According to the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020, need for cabinet to sign off on oilsands projects approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is eliminated.
Elimination of that extra step could speed up the process by as much as 10 months, said the officials.
Dissolution of the agency would lead Alberta to its previous status as the only Canadian province without that kind of agency.
Bill 22's other initiatives include opening up of grazing leases in provincial parks, grazing permits in forest reserves and the sales of public lands to all Canadians, not just residents of Alberta.
This move will focus the province’s funding on one agency, and make it clearer for applicants and their service providers to access emissions-reduction programs.
“Our government has always maintained that we must leverage our industry partners and small- and medium-sized businesses in order to tackle emissions. We have also committed to streamlining government delivery of services and cutting red tape. By rolling EEA into ERA, we are accomplishing all of the above. We thank the board and staff of EEA for their service, and we look forward to continuing important emissions-reduction work under ERA as we move to a stronger, more diversified economy and put Albertans back to work, ” said Nixon.
ERA collaborates with government, industry and innovators to speed up the development of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and attract investment, and will be supported by the funds generated from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system, which regulates emissions from large industries.
Through ERA, Alberta's emissions-reduction efforts would be focused on the commercial and industrial sectors, which account for more than 65 percent of the province’s total emissions.
“Reducing costs and emissions are core to ERA’s mandate, and we have a proven business model to offer the organizational efficiencies and results the province is seeking. We will build on EEA’s expertise and experience to help Alberta’s industries achieve sustainable environmental outcomes, attract investment, and improve their overall competitiveness,” said
Steve MacDonald, CEO, ERA.
Decisions on specific programs and administrative details of Alberta's work with ERA on innovative ideas and solutions for managing and reducing emissions are underway and will be shared with Albertans as updates become available.