Alberta leaders said Friday they plan to introduce legislation this spring to create a single oil and gas regulatory body.

The decision to coordinate policy development and integrate oil and gas policies follows an indepth report by the Regulatory Enhancement Task Force, which was established to review Alberta's upstream regulatory system.

The task force was charged last March with leading a competitiveness review of the province's upstream oil and gas regulations and to recommend how to revamp it as a "modern, efficient, outcomes-based and competitive regulatory system" while still maintaining its commitment to environmental management, public safety and resource conservation.

The province last year was making a bid to support the oil and gas industry, and at that time it launched concessions that included a reduction in drilling royalties (see Daily GPI, March 15, 2010).

"Government has accepted the report," said Energy Minister Ron Liepert. "The recommendations will now be immediately taken through the appropriate government review process for implementation. Legislation will be introduced this spring to begin implementation of the task force report."

Based on the findings by the task force, provincial leaders plan to put forward legislation that would:

"To maintain Alberta's competitiveness the regulatory system must be effective, efficient, adaptable, predictable, fair and transparent," said Parliamentary Assistant for Energy Diana McQueen, who chaired the task force. "We will not compromise our responsibilities to environmental stewardship and the protection of public safety and public interests."

The task force was composed of many of the province's major stakeholders that are involved in many of the regional energy decisions, including members of the oil and gas industry, First Nations, as well as individuals from landowner, municipal and environmental groups.

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