Alberta Liberals Propose Oil Patch Cleanup Bond

Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan is proposing an Oil Patch Cleanup Bond to deal with an estimated multi-billion-dollar pollution problem.

Khan stated, “We believe in the principal that Polluters Must Pay. We propose that Alberta energy companies be required to purchase reclamation and clean-up bonds as insurance against the possibility of a financial catastrophe.

“We insist Alberta taxpayers be protected from an estimated potential $260 billion cleanup of the province’s oil patch. Without this measure Alberta could face financial catastrophe and our precious environment could suffer unimaginable damage.”

An Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) senior official offered up the estimated $260 billion cleanup bill. It was suggested the figure serve as a call to action. It was also meant to highlight deficiencies in Alberta’s liability management programs. AER has since retracted the number. Now what?

The NDP government claimed the current unfunded liability estimate is $58.7 billion. In his July 2015 report, the Auditor General raised red flags about the inadequacy of the Mine Financial Security Program. It is supposed to insulate taxpayers from potentially immense oil sands reclamation costs.

Similarly, the Orphan Well Association has seen its inventory of abandoned wells expand to the point where it needed an Alberta Government loan for $235 million.

The NDP Government’s own estimate claims that a mere $1.6 billion has been collected from industry to deal with the clean up liability. That’s about 0.6% of the total bill. That just won’t do.

Khan stated, “The NDP and the UCP would not support the Alberta Liberals’ Legislature “SO-30” request for an emergency debate on this crucial cleanup issue. Both parties claimed it wasn’t “urgent.” How long must Albertans wait for action?

It’s time to take Alberta taxpayers off the hook. It’s time industry steps up to shoulder more of the financial responsibility. Alberta Liberals believe it’s the right thing to do.”