What Lies Beneath? Almost 100,000 spent oil and gas wells litter Alberta. Who will pay the clean-up cost? by Doug Horner, Alberta Views, Vol 14, No 2, March 2011, pgs 30-34.
The land we’re standing on has been in Bruder’s family since his grandfather, Anton Bonertz, was the first of three brothers to move up from Nebraska in 1907. Bruder says his grandfather never would’ve signed the lease for Pinch in the 1950s if he’d had any notion of the trouble that would visit his grandson some five decades later. In 2007 the surface lease on Pinch expired and set in motion a battle between Bruder and Pennine Petroleum, the well site’s current licensee. In the early days of an escalating feud, Bruder reached out to the Alberta government and its regulatory bodies for help. However, it wasn’t until the Environmental Law Society put Bruder in touch with Barry Robinson, a lawyer with Ecojustice, that some sort of resolution became possible.
“You phone the ERCB and they say, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone the SRB,’” says Bruder. “And you phone the SRB and they say, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone Alberta Environment,’ and Alberta Environment says, ‘that’s not our jurisdiction, phone the ERCB’.” Bruder’s handlebar moustache bristles along with his contempt. “And you just keep going around in a circle.”
The not-so-merry-go-round Bruder describes is Alberta’s oil and gas regulatory system. [Emphasis added]