Landowners on the hook by Cheryl Marshman, Rockyford, April 27, 2015, Edmonton Journal
Re: “What other special deals?” Letters, John Boerefyn, April 20
Appropriating land is not a commercial contract, it’s a government policy, and a very bad one at that.
The real comparison would be the government coming into someone’s home, uninvited, and telling him he must rent a portion of his basement, which he uses for his livelihood, to a business for as long as the business wants it and that this business is allowed to make changes to his basement. There is absolutely no choice on the landowner’s part as to whether he wants to do this; it is the law. The government promises to look after the landowner and if the company does not pay the compensation for his lost income, the government will.
The province has now changed these long-standing policies with landowners. The PC land bills, especially 24 and 36, decimated the legal and compensation rights of Albertans. Bill 36 gave cabinet the power to deny compensation and even access to the courts. Then the government’s Bill 2 eliminated a landowner’s right to a hearing if he or she objects to anything the government and an energy company want to do on private property.
[WHY DO ALBERTANS KEEP VOTING FOR SUCH DASTARDLY ABUSE OF THEIR HOMES, HEALTH, LOVED ONES, BUSINESSES, LANDS AND FARMS?]
So back to that basement. Say the business goes bankrupt, and the portion of his basement is still unusable. The government has decided they don’t like their guarantee anymore and so if the landowner wants to ever again get any income from that portion of his basement, he must fix the basement as well as suck up the lost income until he is able to get it fixed. Now multiply the expenses by thousands of dollars and untold years.
The government should immediately stop issuing right-of-entry orders to energy companies. The government has taken the land, but left the risks and taxes for the landowner, which is very wrong. [Emphasis added. Think you’re safe from the oil and gas industry and Tory and or Wildrose mob taking your home if you live in an Alberta city?]
Stressful for the landowner by Cliff Anderson, Sherwood Park, April 21, 2015, Edmonton Journal
Re: “What other special deals?” Letters, John Boerefyn, April 20
When a landowner is approached to negotiate a lease with an oil/gas company, he or she is not always given the option to decline the development. Should the landowner resist flatly, the company has the right to ask the government’s help in securing the lease, which may involve expropriation of the land all in the [Private profit?] name of benefiting the masses.
So when the landowner finally signs a lease agreement, often under duress, it apparently is to benefit all, including the letter writer.
Thus when the company goes bankrupt, how does the landowner — in most cases, a farmer — get compensation for loss of use of the land? [When the companies frac Alberta cities, homes, businesses, public lands, parks, and more will be under the same bankruptcy block rural home owners are, and get the same intense bonus of breathing undisclosed toxic frac fumes]
The land can sit dormant for months and years before a decision is made by the governing body either to claim the property and install a new operator through some process or close down the whole lease site and return the land and use of it to its rightful owner. Until this happens, the landowner cannot enter the property.
In the meantime, there can be a lot of stressful issues for the landowner to deal with.
I believe it was the provincial energy board that put this scheme in place years ago with the hopes of balancing the playing field a bit. [Emphasis added]
What other special deals? by John Boerefyn, Edmonton, April 20, 2015, Edmonton Journal
Re: “Rural landowners face lease payment losses,” April 16
“Alberta Surface Rights Board pays defaulted lease payments for insolvent oil companies”: Sounds like a scheme from a socialist government. A land rental agreement and lease payment schedule is a commercial contract between an oil company and a landowner, period.
The board must have reached the same conclusion when it reversed a long-standing policy of compensating landowners for defaulted lease payments. But it’s bad timing with an election underway, and the PCs do not want to anger rural landowners, so Jim Prentice called on the board to review that decision in the wake of opposition by more than 400 landowners at a recent meeting. Of course, once you give something away, it is deemed to be a “right” by those who benefit.
Bottom line, defaulted oil lease payments should not be a taxpayer burden. I wonder how many other “special deals” exist for political gain that I don’t know about.
Bankruptcy judge approves continuation of Quicksilver operations by Max B. Baker, March 20, 2015, Star-Telegram
Quicksilver Resources received temporary approval from a bankruptcy judge to continue operations, allowing it to pay employees and honor its royalty obligations. [But not to landowners harmed by Quicksilver frac operations?]
U.S. District Court Judge Laurie Silverstein in Delaware signed the interim orders Thursday as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization petition Quicksilver filed on Tuesday.
In addition, Quicksilver is authorized to honor working interest obligations, and others related to oil and gas leases. Silverstein will conduct a final hearing on her rulings April 15.
“The Court’s approval is a positive step forward in our efforts to address current financial challenges and to position Quicksilver as a strong competitor in the oil and gas industry,” said Glenn Darden, Quicksilver’s chief executive officer said in a prepared statement.
“Today’s results will give our employees, suppliers, royalty and working interest owners confidence that our operations will continue without interruption,” he said.
The Fort Worth-based company made a big move into the Barnett Shale and other natural gas fields across the country and in Canada in the last decade and then struggled with a big debt load after natural gas prices collapsed.
According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., the company reported $1.21 billion in assets and $2.35 billion in debts.
The Chapter 11 filing does not include Quicksilver’s Canadian subsidiary, which reached a temporary agreement with creditors to avoid default on those assets until at least June 16.
Listed among its top 30 creditors are Wilmington Trust National Association ($361.6 million); Delaware Trust Co. ($332.6 million); and U.S. Bank National Association ($312.7 million).
The company also owes millions to several pipeline companies including Oasis Pipeline and Energy Transfer Fuel.
Among the entities filing a notice of appearance with the bankruptcy court were the Texas Comptroller, the Northwest Independent School District and the city of Haslet,
Prior to the bankruptcy filing, Crestwood Midstream, which provides gathering and processing services to Quicksilver in the Barnett Shale, said it supported the company’s attempts at restructuring but that it would owe Crestwood $9 million for services in February. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Company Fighting Regulator Order to Provide Permanent Safe Water for Bathing; if you shower in contaminated water, “you end up breathing water droplets and any contamination in the water enters your lungs”