Notley says moving NEB would be “dumb”

Federal panel on the modernization of the NEB made proposal

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

A federal panel on the modernization of the NEB made the proposal to move to Ottawa the board of directors, a new energy statistical agency, the government co-ordination office, and to shift electricity transmission staff to Ottawa.

The panel, however, said that moving all of the NEB, 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 as some commenters told the panel, and certainly not on the basis 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 a move of the office makes as much sense as moving the Atlantic Opportunities Marketing Agency to Winnipeg.

The report 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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