Poisoned farmland cleanup may hit $10M

Poisoned farmland cleanup may hit $10M by Darcy Henton, The Edmonton Journal, February 4, 2009
An Alberta couple could be waiting another decade before the damage an oil company caused to their property 40 years ago is cleaned up and the land they farm is fully reclaimed, an Alberta Surface Rights Board panel has been told. Allison Wolfe, an environmental co-ordinator with the Orphan Well Association, told the three-member government agency panel Tuesday the costs of reclaiming the poisoned farmland, north of Edmonton, could top $8 million. That figure is four to five times previous estimates. “We’re looking at probably a minimum of 10 years,” Wolfe said. “Long- term, probably $8 million to $10 million.” Armand and Jeannette Tieulie discovered salt and hydrocarbon contamination from leaking wells and oil tanks when they bought the farm from Armand’s father, Gabriel, in 1968. The board panel awarded the Tieulies $3,041 in annual damage payments, retroactive to 1999…. The Tieulies asked the surface rights board Tuesday for $10,000 a year to compensate them for almost nine hectares of top agricultural land they can’t farm. The claim would be retroactive to 2005. … Armand Tieulie, 68, said he was dismayed that others have to pick up the tab for irresponsible oilfield practices of a defunct company.

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