Regina Leader-Post

Surface rights legislatio­n delayed

Minister wants more feedback

- EMMA GRANEY Twitter/LP_EmmaGraney

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.

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