Rural landowners ‘bulldozed’

Rural landowners should make it “as difficult as possible” for oil and gas projects, in order to challenge the provincial government’s new energy regulation bill, says the Alberta Surface Rights Group (ASRG). Bill 2, the Responsible E

Rural landowners should make it “as difficult as possible” for oil and gas projects, in order to challenge the provincial government’s new energy regulation bill, says the Alberta Surface Rights Group (ASRG).

Bill 2, the Responsible Energy Development Act, has received second reading and proposes streamlined energy project approval.

Opponent Kevin Niemi calls it “bulldozing.”

“It’s a stealth attack. They’re trying to spook it through with a heavy-handed robbery of rights,” says the Trochu-area farmer and surface rights group member.

A new posting on the 1,400-member group’s website calls for thwarting development by using existing laws like the Trespass, Weed Control and Pest Control Acts as well as calling a rural councillor “every time a company stirs up some dust.”

Educating Albertans on the bill’s provisions and forming a “critical mass” of protesting landowners are also promoted.

“It is unfortunate that the government has forced us into advocating this position,” reads the posting.

“Our preference is to work with our ‘industry friends’ for our mutual benefit.”

Niemi says Bill 2 lacks any effective appeal of decisions.

“If you want to challenge (a regulator’s report), it goes back to the regulator. It’s just a circle. How can anyone objectively analyze their own report?”

Other criticism focuses on government appointment of the regulator’s chief commissioner and board.

“It’s not an independent regulator. The regulator has to follow the marching orders of cabinet so (the process) can be politicized.”

The Wildrose Party has called for changes to the bill, as has the NDP.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Ken Hughes will tour the province later this month and into December to speak to Albertans about the bill and the government’s 15 newly proposed amendments. A schedule of dates and places should be available by next week, said a department spokesperson.

Hughes is likely to get a rough ride in Central Alberta, given landowner outrage expressed in Sylvan Lake on Wednesday. Billed as a meet and greet with Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk to discuss local issues, a number of Camrose-area opponents demanded changes to Bill 2.

Niemi hopes Hughes’ tour isn’t part of “a slick public relations scheme.”

“Our biggest threat, which is ongoing, is that they throw in 100 things and they change one or two things and you’re still left with an ugly bill.”

For the full text of the Alberta Surface Rights Group’s posting, go to its website

Just Posted

Crown may seek dangerous offender status for 2015 Christmas Day stabber

Psychiatric assessment being done of man sentenced In November 2017 to seven years for manslaughter

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

Fall Food Drive set for Saturday in Red Deer

Organized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Red Deer is counting down to CFR 45

Jointly hosted by Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park

Mirror fire department still short volunteers

Fire department will close if volunteers can’t be found

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Washington wants Canada to improve spill plan for U.S. spur of Trans Mountain

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s Department of Ecology wants the Canadian government to… Continue reading

National Transportation Safety Board to determine cause of Air Canada close call

Video captured the moment that an Air Canada jet flew off course… Continue reading

Edmonton public schools to review its ‘books to weed out’ list due to concerns

Edmonton Public Schools says it’s taking down its book review site after… Continue reading

Former U.S. ambassador steps up calls to get Americans to vote ahead of midterms

OTTAWA — A former U.S. ambassador to Canada is taking the battle… Continue reading

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

OTTAWA — With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency… Continue reading

Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as… Continue reading

Tiger Woods winning adds to Ryder Cup buzz

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Already the most intense competition in golf, the Ryder… Continue reading

Most Read