Monday, March 30, 2009

Pen Meets Paper March 30 '09

Pen Meets Paper
Opinion by Helge Nome
I attended the West Central Stakeholders event at the Lou Soppit Community Centre in Rocky Mountain House last Thursday, March 26. The group is financially facilitated by oil and gas companies operating in Clearwater County and exists to minimize conflicts between the industry and land owners. The Sundre Petroleum Operators' Group (SPOG) operates along similar guidelines.
The topic for the meeting was “Understanding Landowners' Rights when the oil and gas industry comes to your door”. The meeting was very well attended by local and industry people and was addressed by representatives from the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). The Surface Rights Board SRB) and the Farmer's Advocate Office (FAO).
As a landowner listening to the presentation I had the distinct feeling of being back in a classroom along with fellow land owners and being lectured to by the gentlemen in front of us.
For example, we were told that, and please correct me if I am wrong, farmers only contribute some 2% to the overall economy (read: you are not very important). I.e. Landowners should step aside and let the important people come in and do what is in the public interest. Namely to extract oil and gas resources and so create revenues for the public purse (read: extract non renewable resources as quickly as possible from Alberta's soils).
We were also reminded to respect one another in dealings over oil and gas issues by our teachers at the front of the room. We were told that productive negotiations produce win-win outcomes
(read: the oil/gas company moves in and sets up shop). Other kinds of outcomes were win-lose or lose-lose (read: the “lose” part applies to the landowner). Information was provided indicating that a minuscule number of applications for wells (20+) out of several thousands were rejected by the ERCB (read: so you might as well give up opposing them).
We were also told that the ERCB had not really been provided with any kind of guiding philosophy by the Government of Alberta, and so had to make up its own. And this has irrefutably meant maximum possible extraction of energy in the shortest possible time, as determined by market conditions.
Having been given the opportunity to use a microphone, I suggested that the Energy Resources Conservation Board should be renamed to become the Energy Resources Extraction Board, to more accurately reflect its real purpose.
By now, most of us probably realize that the present Alberta Government, and many before this one, is essentially a front shop for Big Energy. The newly proposed Bill 19 is an excellent example of how the government is being used as a tool to pave the way for big energy developments. And the Stelmach puppies just rewarded themselves with a nice pay increase for their good work which consists mostly in tail wagging to Big Energy.
To find out more about this, come to the Leslieville Elks Hall (just across the street from the community hall) on Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30pm. Joe Anglin will be there.

1 comment:

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