Friday, March 18, 2016

There's a Name For It. It's Called "Political Capture"

It's even got its own Wiki entry, here.

Regulatory capture is a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.[1] Regulatory capture is a form of government failure; it creates an opening for firms or political groups to behave in ways injurious to the public (e.g., producing negative externalities). The agencies are called "captured agencies".

Let's take a look at the National Energy Board, thanks to the National Observer.

TransCanada Corp convinced the federal pipeline regulator last fall to make 34 out of 36 recommended changes to a report reviewing serious safety allegations raised by a whistleblower, with most edits downplaying mistakes made by the pipeline operator.
The National Energy Board originally dismissed serious safety allegations against the Calgary-based energy company in both the draft and final versions of the report.

But the original draft had factual errors and sections that would later be altered in response to recommendations by the company.

The edits, recommended in a nine-page fax from TransCanadaCorp in late September 2015, were incorporated into a final report released by the NEB one month later.

Some of those changes removed key words like “rupture” and “blowdown” to soften the language in the final report and other inconvenient details about TransCanada's safety performance.

Critics say the edits suggest that the watchdog is either weak or showing bias — problems that could jeopardize public safety. TransCanada sees it differently.

Our suggested edits to the NEB report were offered to achieve clarity and accuracy in the report,” said TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper.

Another way to effect political or regulatory capture is to load the board with industry shills, people who could be reasonably perceived to have a pro-industry bias. So, who sits on Canada's National Energy Board. Here they are, draw your own conclusions.


Owen Gray said...

From the very beginning, Mound, in every aspect of government, Harper tried to stack the deck. The report makes clear just how successful he was.

Lorne said...

I read that article yesterday with deep dismay, Mound. It is so emblematic of the abuse Canada suffered under the corporate shill known as Stephen Harper.

The Mound of Sound said...

Why can't Trudeau publicly state the obvious, that the NEB is a stacked deck? My take is that JT continues to support a number of fossil energy projects including Energy East and Kinder Morgan and to admit the corruption of the NEB would put in jeopardy all the environmental approvals for those pet projects going back for several years.