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The agency responsible for approving and assessing energy development in Alberta is laying off staff as it deals with budget cuts.

The Alberta Energy Regulator says it laid off "a couple of dozen" staff Tuesday with more to come by the end of February.

Gordon Lambert, interim CEO, says the changes are part of a restructuring that aims to make the regulator more effective, efficient, and resilient.

He says the new structure is simpler, one with less hierarchy, less duplication and more integration.

Last October the government announced that the AER would lose about 22 per cent of its operating budget.

Lambert says over the next few weeks the organization will make decisions on how to best run its teams and functions.

"This is a difficult time for staff, and resources are available for both those who depart and those who stay," he said in a release.

"While some people's roles may change, our work to regulate Alberta's energy industry continues.

"We will not waiver in our focus to deliver our core business functions that work to protect public safety and the environment while ensuring responsible energy development."

Cara Tobin, a spokeswoman for the regulator, says there is no hard target for how many of the organization's 1,100 staff will lose their jobs.

The Alberta Energy Regulator is funded by industry and is authorized to collect funds through an administrative fee levied on energy development projects and activities.

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Well, given the regulator has, so far, done such a lousy job of actually "regulating" - don't suppose a few less inefficient, ineffective, regulators won't be missed. I hope they can take their frustration and insider knowledge off to "Greener" pastures.

I think the key here is that AER is funded by industry. By providing less funding, the o&g industry effectively reduces oversight.

The industry likely also saves money...........too bad they don't intend to spend the savings paying their back taxes to municipalities. Albertans who think our current crew of oil and gas experts are working for Alberta's prosperity, may have their heads so far up some dark place they think it's a pipeline. True, the AER didn't do much regulating.....cut to the bone, it won't do much less.