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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

Not only is funding for yesterdays announcement in fact coming from the federal government, BC’s NDP government has suspended the industry levy paid for clean-up of orphan oil and gas wells



Yesterday, the BC government -- through Bruce Ralston’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources -- laid claim to support of unemployed BC gas and oil workers, in new programs to clean-up orphan wells.

The Province stated they are supporting jobs for B.C. workers in oil and gas service companies to clean up the environment and help restart the economy.

With the support of the federal government, B.C. is taking action to accelerate the restoration of more than 2,000 orphan and inactive wells,” said Premier John Horgan. “This program will support upwards of 1,200 jobs, helping B.C. workers, the environment and our economy during these challenging times.”

The only thing is, the BC government is not putting one penny in to this program; they are simply allocating where funding from the federal government is going to be allocated.

In fact, the entire $120 million dollars is coming from monies the federal government announced on April 17th.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am happy to see work being planned to have many of these orphan wells cleaned up – in fact it is long overdue. The funding -- 100% coming as I noted from the federal government (other than monies from the BC Oil and Gas Commission as noted below) -- will be allocated to three different programs:

The Dormant Sites Reclamation Program ... will provide $100 million to reclaim dormant oil and gas sites, which are wells that have been inactive for five consecutive years and are unlikely to be returned to service.

The Orphan Sites Supplemental Reclamation Program ... will provide $15 million to reclaim orphan oil and gas sites where the operator is insolvent, no longer exists or cannot be located. This program will be administrated by the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) and will be in addition to $27 million in planned BCOGC clean up of such wells for 2020-21 (NOTE ... the cost of operating the Commission is funded through the application of industry fees and levies).

The Legacy Sites Reclamation Program ... will provide $5 million to address the legacy impacts of historical oil and gas activities that continue to have environmental impacts, such as on wildlife habitat or on the traditional use by Indigenous peoples.

 

Through these three programs, we are accelerating the cleanup of thousands of orphan and inactive wells,” said Bruce Ralston, who then went on to say:

This allows us to restore lands of important environmental and cultural relevance, while also supporting local jobs and local economies in BC’s northeast.”

 

BUT ... what about a story from May 7th in the Narwhal? In it, writer Sarah Cox let it be known that:

... the B.C. government has given oil and gas companies a reprieve from making their annual contributions — worth more than $11 million this year — to a fund for cleaning up orphan wells that could pose a threat to the environment. 

 

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission posted the notice on its website on April 16 — the day before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government will shell out $1.7 billion to clean up orphan and inactive oil and gas wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC ...

 

The story does go on to say that the levy for clean-up costs is being suspended temporarily, understandably however, it also asks:

Will the BC government, in the future, increase the amount of money that needs to be paid into that levy from oil and gas companies? Or will it be the BC government, or inevitably the federal government, that’s going to pay for that? When it’s government paying … it’s taxpayers who pay.” 

 

SO ... not only is funding in yesterdays announcement coming from the federal government (taxpayers’ monies in other words), BC’s NDP government of Premier John Horgan has suspended monies which the oil and gas industry should currently be contributing to clean-up.

In the final analysis, yesterday’s announcement of new programs to support jobs, and clean up the environment, is in actual fact good news ... it’s just that the BC government is really only dispersing monies being provided too them.

 

Bottom line?  Mr. Ralston and Mr. Horgan ... don’t take credit for something you aren’t responsible for.


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