Showdown with Big Oil, There’s a battle brewing out there, People are getting right ticked off

Showdown with Big Oil, There’s a battle brewing out there, People are getting right ticked off by Neil Waugh, April 4, 2007, Edmonton Sun
The evidence piled up against farmers and ranchers land rights advocate Ray Strom by a trio of petroleum land agents – representing Exxon Mobil, Encana and Aquila Networks – was too strong. Ayotte was forced to throw the book at Strom. This, despite the Alberta Surface Rights Federation’s “Strom Defence Fund” which was kicked off to raise cash and help out with the Two Hills land reps’ legal expenses. “The outcome of this case will affect the overall rights of landowners of the province of Alberta,” the federation’s resolution warned. The federation’s mission statement blasted the fact that surface rights have become “a dominant bone of contention” in rural Alberta. And complained bitterly of the “massive transfer of wealth” from the country to the cities – fingering “the government and industry” as the culprits. … Ayotte slammed that “as presently constituted” the PCs’ land agent law “creates an unbalanced playing field favouring the oil and gas industry.” He added: “It would appear to be landowners…who suffer the consequences of the imbalance the act creates.” But the judge noted “those are political not judicial issues.” And he pretty well begged Strom to appeal the case on constitutional grounds to Court of Queen’s Bench “if they can get no satisfactory redress.”

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