Subject: Lets Stand Shoulder To Shoulder Against Government Interference In Well Abandonments
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2017 12:27:49 -0600
I certainly want to thank all those who have helped keep those guilty of trying to properly screw-over the public, in the news! Don’t be fooled by our industry watchdog—they are also guilty of screwing-over the public– by asking for a paltry $30 million from industry to do a huge job!! These Calgary Dudes are just now trying to put on a show after realizing where the Alberta public stand with respect to the public doing what has always been promised as industries job!! And our Government have acted in concert with their regulator for not demanding they appear in Edmonton to explain their weak-kneed actions that they hoped would cause a windfall of cash from government forces to again bailout industry from taking their rightful places!! Lets not forget it is industry who lift the cost of this so called government appendage! It’s time Albertans stood shoulder to shoulder to flush out elements like CAPP who have for years held far too much power over all our forms of government!!
Imagine foreign bitumen owners asking the local government, Wood Buffalo, to drop their due tax bill because they experienced a fire that affected their income?? Good God Wood Buffalo could teach them a pile about fires affecting income?? The CNOOC has the entire Chinese government behind it and still has the guts of a government mule to ask the little Wood Buffalo local government to write down it’s taxation even though this small local government just suffered the worst tragedy in Canadian history?? I got totally fed up with governments gifting the richest industry on the planet when Stelmach indicated he was forced to gift the Abandoned Well Fund $30 million to keep his job—while the industry that year offered $12.5 million for the same year!!
I was then dumb founded when the Alberta government gifted Shell 60%, Chevron 20%,and Marathon 20% –$745 million to add CO2 capture to their Scotford refinery!! And industry can only offer $30 million to clean up messes they are responsible for!
It’s indeed laughable when both our industry controlled regulator and provincial government- indicate they uphold the “Polluter-Pay Principal” while the regulator would only ask industry for $30 million for a man-sized job, and Notley has already indicated the $30 million gifted Alberta by the federal government is to be turned over to the “Orphan Well Fund! This, after Stelmach already gifted $30 million in 2009 against industries $12.5 Million!! Thanks again to those who help restore some sense in this area!! This government action changes everything promised land owners who have allowed wells to be placed on their land under totally different conditions—another promise breached??
Stewart Shields, Lacombe Alberta [Emphasis added]
Comment to the article below by Diana Daunheimer
Grant Thorton LLP, bankruptcy trustee for Redwater, also the auditor the Orphan Well Association, and the firm the AER requested as a Court ordered receiver for the Lexin assets, which the AER forced into insolvency….doubling the orphan well fund. Grant Thorton LLP triple dipping, with the help of the AER? Rather curious the AER would appoint a receiver, the corporation is litigating against.
Energy watchdog seeks appeal to Supreme Court over abandoned wells by Reid Southwick, April 28, 2017, Calgary Herald
Alberta’s energy watchdog wants to thrust a small, bankrupt energy company into the national spotlight and set a precedent for Canada’s oil and gas industry.
The Alberta Energy Regulator said Friday it would ask the Supreme Court of Canada for permission to appeal a recent Alberta ruling that industry officials fear will lead to an influx of abandoned oil and gas wells across the landscape.
Redwater Energy Corp., which had just 16 producing wells when it folded in the spring of 2015, has already attracted widespread attention in the industry because of the case’s potentially sweeping implications.
The Alberta Court of Appeal upheld an earlier ruling that money raised from the sale of Redwater’s assets should be spent repaying its creditors, instead of cleaning up old wells that are no longer producing oil.
Oil and gas wells abandoned by bankrupt companies land in the lap of the industry-funded Orphan Well Association, which is already dealing with an unprecedented inventory of wells it must clean up.
The energy regulator, the orphan well group and other industry players fear the court decision will only drive up the inventory of abandoned wells as bankrupt oil and gas producers focus on paying their creditors.
Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said she backs the regulator’s attempts to take the case to the country’s highest court and “do all we can to defend Alberta in this.”
The orphan well group had 2,600 abandoned wells slated for cleanup late March after the inventory more than doubled in the previous six months. The industry spends $30 million annually to clean these sites and return them to a natural state, but the influx of cash has not been enough to keep up with demand. [And Premiers give industry public funds to clean up industry’s messes, first $30 Million from Stelmach, now another $30 Million from Notley (via all Canadian taxpayers)]
The energy regulator said Friday it’s seeking an appeal at the Supreme Court not only because of the case’s impact on Alberta’s industry, but also because it has “significant ramifications” for the rest of the country.
Lawyers representing the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, along with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers had appeared before the appeal court to back the energy regulator’s position.
“Appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada will be an important step to continue protecting the public from paying abandonment and reclamation costs of orphaned sites,” Brad Herald, a vice-president at the oil and gas group, said in a statement. [It’s quite clear that industry and its lobby groups, and the enabling governments and regulators across Canada, plan to hang the public now and endless future generations with the costs of clean up – just look at the industry’s toxic legacies across the country, the contaminated aquifers and masses of abandoned wells no one is cleaning up, not even those spewing oil into bays where scallops are dying off in NL.]
The NDP government has routinely upheld the “polluter-pay” principle, which means that industry — not taxpayers — are responsible for cleaning up old oil and gas wells. [What outrageous lie is this? Where’s the evidence? Rosebud’s aquifers remain dangerously contaminated by Encana’s illegal fracs, Campbell’s well water remains contaminated with industry’s thermogenic gases (Encana ran extreme experiments there), as does Zimmerman’s. ]
In its 2-1 decision released this week, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s finding that the federal Business Insolvency Act and Alberta’s Oil and Gas Conservation Act are in conflict. [But the two courts did not rule that the Act is in conflict with Canada’s top law in the land, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms! Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and Court of Appeal contradict themselves in the Redwater and Ernst rulings. It will be fascinating to see if the Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear the AER’s appeal or not, and if it will contradict itself in Redwater and Ernst too!]
It means the federal law trumps Alberta’s rules [The Charter trumps Alberta’s rules too. But even the Supreme Court of Canada caved to the oil and gas industry (AER), and ruled that Alberta’s rules can trump the Charter in the Ernst case.] and demanding cleanup costs from industry, and allows Redwater’s bankruptcy trustee, Grant Thornton, to walk away from the company’s uneconomic and non-producing wells, leaving them to the orphan well group.
A third judge offered a dissenting opinion that the federal and provincial laws are not in conflict and that the lower court’s decision should have been overturned. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2017 04 24: AER’s $300 Billion Ponzi Scheme Closer to Fruition? Alberta Court of Appeal favours creditors over the environment, upholds Redwater decision. Did AER set this up to create horrific legal precedent to let companies hang their toxic pollution and massive damages on the public via the impotent Orphan Well Program?
2017 02 17: Brilliant! MUST LISTEN! BNN Interviews Alberta Oil Patch Consultant Brent Nimeck on Lexin and AER’s Orphan Wells: “This problem is 30 years in the making. … I would call it a Ponzi Scheme…. This is an orchestrated fraud from multiple angles: Industry, CAPP and the Alberta Energy Regulator have enabled this to happen. … Through our independent analysis and we’ve confirmed this at multiple sources within the energy regulator, the liabilities are over $300 billion. That’s what’s on the hook for Alberta taxpayers right now – $300 billion.”
Nimeck: Lexin is a close example of one of the 348 companies that are just like Lexin and that can go bankrupt at any given time. It’s a good indicator of things to come.
This problem is thirty years in the making. Industry has carefully orchestrated this. I would call it a Ponzi Scheme to keep these companies alive, to allow hundreds of thousands of wells to sit inactive. … This isn’t an accident, this has been carefully orchestrated.
This is an orchestrated fraud from multiple angles: industry, CAPP and the Alberta Energy Regulator have enabled this to happen. There’s quite a bit of evidence to support that.
Thirty million dollars a year to deal with this problem is basically like trying to pee on a forest fire trying to put it out. It’s not going to work. When the Orphan Well is unable to deal with these then the liability is going to be transferred to the taxpayers and right now the government is currently estimating the liabilities at $30 billion, but through our independent analysis and we’ve confirmed this at multiple sources within the energy regulator, the liabilities are over $300 billion.
That’s what’s on the hook for Alberta taxpayers right now – $300 billion.
BNN: That’s an enormous sum of money.
Nimeck: The long term environmental affects of this will be devastating to the province of Alberta.
2016 10 13: AER Redwater Appeal: Will the courts protect the rich, make ordinary Canadians pay for industry’s abandoned oilfield messes? Alberta Court of Appeal to decide who will pay for Redwater’s abandoned wells after bankruptcy (using the law to intentionally avoid responsibility after years of profit-taking?)
2016 09 22: Is AER vs Redwater worsening cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells in Alberta, BC and Sasktchewan? Did AER file the lawsuit intentionally to set legal precedent and dump clean up costs on taxpayers to enhance profits for oil and gas companies?
2016 12 16: “The Alberta Model” Greedy & Gagging in Nova Scotia: Triangle Petroleum leaves taxpayers to clean up frac sites & waste pits, Gags Energy Dept
2016 05 27: “Where does the buck stop?” AER to appeal ruling on oil, gas cleanup obligations. Chief Justice Wittmann found Alberta’s oil and gas licencing regime to be unconstitutional relating to money, but not in Ernst’s “valid” constitutional claim against AER relating to drinking water contamination by oil and gas
2016 05 21: Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Wittmann rules for creditors instead of clean-up when energy companies go bankrupt, Rules against Albertans, water, land and air [Fulfilling Harper’s orders?]
2017 04 28: Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Wittmann retires
Wittmann describes the toughest cases he’s presided over as the ones that provided “anxious moments” and “thoughtful moments” — some criminal, some civil, in each the stakes were high and a carefully crafted decision required.
“You have to accept that maybe you’re wrong, but you have to do what you think is right,” he said.
2014 09: Court of Appeal of Alberta rules AER can violate the Charter rights of Albertans with impunity, owes no Alberta harmed by the oil and gas industry any duty of care, and is legally immune even for acts in bad faith and gross negligence.
2014 11 07: Chief Justice Neil C Wittmann rules that Alberta Environment can be sued even though it too is immune from lawsuits
2013 09 19: Justice Wittmann’s ruling on the hearing he did not hear, Rules:
- Ernst has valid Charter claim but gives the ERCB (now AER) complete immunity, even for violating Ernst’s Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- there is no evidence that Ernst is a terrorist – “absolutely none” but instead of punishing AER for lying in official legal filings, Wittmann punished Ernst.
February 15, 2013: In a case management call with Justice Veldhuis, it was relayed that Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Neil Wittmann volunteered to take over the case. The other option offered was to allow the three defendants and plaintiff to choose a new judge which would have been a long drawn out, unjust, expensive process for Ernst.
2013 02 08: Harper Government promotes Justice Veldhuis to Alberta Court of Appeal Ruling on arguments Justice Veldhuis heard on the Ernst case “Not an option.”
2011 06 24: Harper Government appoints Barbara Veldhuis to Court of Queen’s Bench
2009 10 24: Prime Minister Harper announces the appointment of Neil Wittmann from the Court of Appeal of Alberta to Chief Justice of Court of Queen’s Bench ]