Farmers to address Supreme Court in fight against abandoned wells

Thousands of farmers in Western Canada have been granted the right to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada to oppose a legal decision they say allows energy companies to walk away from unprofitable wells on their land.

The court has announced it will hear from the Action Surface Rights Association in an appeal of the so-called Redwater decision.

READ MORE: Supreme Court to decide how abandoned oil wells to be handled 

That decision allows bankrupt oil and gas companies to abandon wells during bankruptcy proceedings without having to clean up the sites.

INFOGRAPHIC: Alberta’s inactive abandoned oil and gas well problem 

Since that 2016 decision, more than 1,800 wells representing more than $100 million in liabilities have been abandoned.

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READ MORE: Alberta landowners’ advocate on ‘mushrooming’ problem of abandoned oil wells 

Daryl Bennett, a farmer from Taber, Alta., who belongs to the association, says landowners are tired of being stuck with weedy, environmentally unsound messes on their land.

He says his group has support from farm organizations across the country, including the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union.

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