WHEREAS access, adverse effects and surface rights for right of ways and surface leases has been primarily based on agricultural productivity values for the past 25 years;AND WHEREAS these productivity values have not changed; AND WHEREAS the value of the product being produced from these wells has increased exponentially;AND WHEREAS the use of agricultural land may have other potential uses besides the production of agricultural products;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Provincial Government to amend the Surface Rights Act to pay annual compensation from pipelines and to include an entry fee of $1,500 per acre to a maximum of $15,000 per title schedule, and that land value is set to 150 per cent of appraised value.
Rural municipalities have determined that industrial and commercial requirements for land outside urban areas are increasing and subsequently, the landscape is changing. Drilling wells effectively sterilize the use of the land surrounding them for every other use except farming, therefore limiting options and choices for landowners. Additionally, municipalities have concluded that currently there is no correlation between the compensation paid to the landowner for granting an oil company the privilege to access the oil and gas and the price realized for that product. The higher the price of oil and gas gets, the higher the cost for the landowner to produce agri-foods becomes. Municipalities have pressed to develop a legislation that will account for these factors.
The AAMDC has spoken with representatives from the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board on this subject and submitted the resolution to Alberta Energy and Municipal Affairs. The department of Energy, Municipal Affairs and the EUB are working toward remediation of this problem. The need for more resources is also a condition of monitoring. The AAMDC has asked the government of Alberta to increase funding for the AEUB to ensure that it has the capacity to undertake monitoring activities.In late 2007, the Government of Alberta passed Bill 46 to split the AEUB into the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). The AAMDC will continue to monitor the issue of status change enforcement for oil and gas wells within the context of these new boards. On July 15, 2008, the Government of Alberta announced that an MLA committee will assist the Alberta government with implementation of key priorities of Albertas Land-use Framework, including the development of a transportation and utility corridors strategy, a recreation strategy and a review of landowners rights legislation. The committee will be chaired by Evan Berger, MLA for Livingstone-Macleod and Parliamentary Assistant for Sustainable Resource Development, and will report back to Minister Morton. One aspect of this committees work will be a review of the Surface Rights Act. In early September 2008, MLA Evan Berger formally requested a copy of AAMDCs report Digging Deeper. The committee will be using the AAMDC report as a primary source of ideas and will consider its recommendations in reviewing the Surface Rights Act.