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 www.albertasurfacerights.com.

rfiedler@bprda.wpengine.com

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

Just Posted

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Opinion
Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Shenanigans on the links

It must be something about my Scottish heritage but I seem to… Continue reading

Muskrats can occupy any wetland that is shallow enough to permit the growth of their aquatic food.
Pearman: Muskrats numbers rebounding in central Alberta

I have spent many pleasant hours muskrat watching. Time spent in the… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Letters
Letter: Go camping in B.C.

The news is reporting that a lot of people are threatening to… Continue reading

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Most Read