Energy Efficiency Alberta to go under proposed red-tape cutting bill
File photo. Low emission skylights.
EDMONTON -- After slashing its programs last year, the government plans to scrap entirely an agency that helps Alberta residents and businesses be more energy efficient.
A bill proposing the repeal of the Energy Efficiency Alberta Act was introduced in the legislature Thursday.
The act establishes the public agency of the same name.
Currently, Energy Efficiency Alberta helps support banks offering green technology loans, provides financing for upgrade projects, and acts as an industry networking hub.
Until October, it also offered incentive programs to Albertans retrofitting their properties, funded by carbon tax profits.
Red Tape Reduction Associate Minister Grant Hunter said EEA programs would be rolled into Emissions Reduction Alberta.
“We don’t need to have two agencies doing the same thing,” he told media.
The ERA mandate is to reduce greehnhouse gas emissions and support use of new efficient technologies.
Hunter did not commit to EEA’s programs making the transfer to the ERA unchanged.
“Minister of Environment and Parks will be bringing forward those initiatives and so whatever initiatives he’s going to be bringing forward, you’ll have to ask him about those.”
BILL 22 FOCUSING ON RED TAPE ACROSS GOVERNMENT
Bill 22 proposes more than a dozen changes to laws under six different ministries, and was touted by the minister as an effort to help the economy by getting rid of red tape.
If Bill 22 is passed,
- oil sands scheme approvals would no longer need a green light from cabinet, speeding some projects up by 10 months, Hunter estimated;
- non-profit boards would no longer need any directors with Alberta residency and corporate boards would no longer need any directors with Canadian residency;
- the Surface Rights Board would have more powers to expedite compensation to landowners who haven’t been for energy development on their property; and
- allow any Canadian resident to buy public land, grazing leases in provincial parks or grazing permits in forest reserves.
As is, the Public Lands Act restricts the latter activity to Albertans.
According to Hunter, the move is simply to align Alberta with other provinces, not to facilitate the sale of provincial parks, which the government has categorically denied doing through the closing of several.
- READ MORE: 20 Alberta parks to be partially or fully closed after government review
- READ MORE: 'They belong to all Albertans': NDP calls on government to consult on provincial parks
The associate minister said his work has reduced red tape by five per cent since the position was created last year. The government’s goal is to reduce red tape by 30 per cent.
A previous version of this story said EEA programming would be taken over by the AER, or Alberta Energy Regulator. The programming will be taken over by the ERA, Emissions Reducation Alberta.