Supreme Court to decide on handling of abandoned oil wells

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal over a ruling that could allow energy companies to walk away from cleaning up abandoned oil wells

The Supreme Court of Canada says it will hear an appeal from Alberta’s energy regulator over a ruling that could allow energy companies to walk away from cleaning up abandoned oil wells and affect industrial sites across the country.

In May 2016, an Alberta Queen’s Bench judge ruled in favour of the bankruptcy trustee of Redwater Energy Corp., saying proceeds from the sale of assets from bankrupt energy companies should go first to creditors, not to cleaning up the mess from the company’s operations.

Redwater’s trustee and its lender wanted to sell off the company’s remaining producing wells to pay creditors, arguing a bankruptcy trustee is free to pick and choose from among the company’s assets and disclaim unproductive oil and gas wells.

Related: Politicians criticize Trudeau’s reaction to critics of Energy East demise

Disclaimed wells would be abandoned and left to the Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded and government-backed group, to clean up.

In a split decision last April, Alberta’s Appeal Court backed the original judge, saying federal bankruptcy law takes precedence over provincial environmental rules.

As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the appeal.

The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Convoy of essential service vehicles visits Nelson hospital and care homes

The event was meant as a thank you to front-line workers

Vehicle incident causes Hwy 6 closure and power outages in Slocan Valley

A Thursday afternoon incident has closed the main highway in the Slocan Valley

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read