Surface rights legislation delayed
Minister wants more feedback
The provincial government is going back to the drawing board with its surface rights legislation.
The act was ready to be presented in the legislature on Monday, but Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd instead pulled it off the table.
The government launched a review of the 45-year-old Surface Rights Acquisition and Compensation Act in August 2013.
Eighteen months later, the new piece of legislation was ready, but tanking oil prices have changed the picture somewhat.
Boyd called the issue and resulting legislation “very complex.”
So, instead of rolling the act through the legislature and letting amendments do their thing, he felt it was better to “do another round of consultation with everyone — industry players and farm associations — and take a look at this once again.”
Part of the problem is that every situation — each well location, each setup — is unique.
As a result, Boyd said, striking a balance between the interests of industry, farmers and ranchers is “very difficult.”
“Trying to make sure we cover up all of the situations as best we can is going to be very challenging.”
On Tuesday, Boyd labelled criticism that government has been pandering to oil companies — rather than looking after the interests of farmers and ranchers — as “frankly ridiculous.”
That criticism became louder last year, when the former Energy Minister Tim McMillan resigned to take a job as the head lobbyist for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Boyd said that a lot of oil companies “are a little bit nervous” about the legislation, and that farming groups have been “lobbying hard.”
He hopes revised legislation will be ready for the fall sitting.