BC creates Orphan Site Reclamation Fund
VICTORIA, BC-British Columbia's new Orphan Site Reclamation Fuind will make the oil and gas industry primarily responsible for old wells, production facilities or pipelines that have not been properly reclaimed and whose corporate owners either cannot be found, have ceased to exist or have gone bankrupt. "The fund will be used by the Oil and Gas Commission to pay for the reclamation of orphan sites and reimburse property owners with unpaid rental leases," said provincial Energy, Mines and Petroleum Minister Richard Neufeld. Amendments to BC's Oil and Gas Commission Act will transfer the burden of orphan site reclamation costs from government to the industry. The province will charge and collect money for the fund through a tax on oil an gas industry production on existing and future wells. The Commission, which regulates the industry in BC, will use the fund to pay for orphan site reclamation and to compensate landowners surface lease payments left unpaid by previous site owners. In addition to ensuring that these sites are properly cleaned up before they become environmental problems, the fund will enable the property owners to put the sites to new use.