The Alberta Federation of Agriculture is hopeful the almost quarter billion dollar, interest-free loan to the Orphan Well Association by the Alberta Government, announced last week will begin to address the clean up and reclamation of abandoned wells found on agriculture land throughout the province.
“Over the last thirty years, farmers and landowners throughout the province have been dealing with the effects of un-reclaimed wells that have been abandoned by their owners,” said Lynn Jacobson, President of the AFA. “We look at this loan as a good start in beginning to address the issue.”
The AFA says abandoned wells can become prone to failure that can result in contamination of surface and ground water and do environmental damage to plants and wildlife.
“Orphan wells can present serious challenges for farmers, sometimes leading to water contamination and other environmental damage,” noted Jacobson. “With close to 200,000 wells that are either suspended or abandoned, and over 37,000 that are exempt from reclamation, action is absolutely critical.”
The Alberta Federation of Agriculture continues to ensure that the viewpoints of farmers are brought to the forefront by being engaged in Alberta Energy’s current liability management consultations.
The Federation wants all wells and facilities for which this loan is used to be reclaimed to today’s reclamation standards, the 37,100 wells that, because of their age, are currently exempt from reclamation or have a lower reclamation standard, be reclaimed to the 2017 standard and calculation of future reclamation levies, as well as all transactions that the loan money pays for, be given independent scrutiny by the Province’s Auditor General to ensure they are used properly.