Excellent letters in Edmoton Journal: Abandoned well clean-up diagnosis correct, but not the cure

Saturday Letters Clean-up diagnosis correct, but not the cure August 13, 2016, Edmonton Journal

Re. “Ask for help with defunct wells,” Letters, Aug. 10

Did I interpret Edmonton-Riverbend MP Matt Jeneroux’s letter correctly? Is he really suggesting that Alberta and Canadian taxpayers pay for the reclamation-remediation of defunct wells in Alberta’s oil and gas patch?

I agree that it is timely to provide employment opportunities and reclaim long standing and under-enforced environmental concerns. But it is totally appropriate to require the oil and gas sector to face up their corporate, environmental and social responsibility to remediate the problems they created.

In our purported free enterprise model, industry should dig into their collective pockets and pay for all remediation. The oil and gas industry has posted record profits in recent years; shouldn’t some portion of “profit” be earmarked for environmental protection for our grandchildren and not into the bank accounts of shareholders?

[And how about the industry collectively dig in, and pay for all the harms caused to Albertans too, including frac’d drinking water supplies?]

Jeneroux identified an important issue to be addressed, but his proposed solution is off target.

M.L. Clark, Camrose

Keep taxpayers out of it

Re. “Ask for help with defunct wells,” Letters, Aug. 10

It is absolutely abhorrent to ask federal and provincial taxpayers to help pay for reclaiming and cleaning up old oil wells.

As mandated by the province, it is the responsibility of the oil companies to clean up their mess. They sucked out billions of dollars from these wells and it is long overdue for them to fulfil their corporate duties to Albertans.

Steve Shamchuk Sr., Edmonton

Who is looking out for Albertans?

Ralph Klein said in 2001, “I have no idea what all this means” referring to the details of his government’s privatization of power.

The growing list of energy companies’ liabilities in Alberta is huge: tailings ponds reclamation, abandoned oil and gas wells, oil and gas facilities abandonment [and fractured drinking water aquifers]. Now, we taxpayers need to pay for lost company profits?

Our watchdog agencies, like the Alberta Energy Regulator, have failed miserably to enforce their directives and failed to hold companies accountable and liable. Past governments have failed to maximize profits for the owners of the Alberta’s energy resources. We taxpayers own Alberta’s energy resources and we’ve been fleeced.

Peter Lee, Edmonton [Emphasis added]

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