WHEREAS there are currently 350,000 kilometres of pipelines in the province of Alberta which will remain in place when abandoned until a development and/or subdivision occurs on the lands requiring removal; AND WHEREAS the current regulations, Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Directive 056, September 12, 2005, Section 6.9 provides for Pipeline Abandonment and Removal or Resumption, Alberta Regulation 91/2005, Pipeline Act, Pipeline Regulation, Part 10, provides for the Discontinuance, Abandonment, Removal or Resumption of pipelines, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board General Bulletin ‘GB 99-4’, provides for setbacks from abandoned pipelines. All regulations allow abandoned pipelines to remain in place; AND WHEREAS municipalities should be concerned with future development of the lands affected by the considerable number of pipelines that will be abandoned throughout Alberta;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to establish a Stakeholder Committee to identify guidelines regarding abandoned pipelines to maximize surface land use opportunities for future generations.
The County of Wetaskiwin has been advised by the Esso Imperial Oil Company of the abandonment phases and shut down schedule for the Bonnie Glen/Wizard Lake Plant. The abandoned pipelines will remain in place on private land until a development and/or subdivision occurs on the land at which time Esso will review each request individually. Currently legislation allows for leaving abandoned pipelines to remain in place and the County of Wetaskiwin is concerned with future development of the lands affected by the considerable number of pipelines within the County of Wetaskiwin and throughout Alberta that will be abandoned. The County of Wetaskiwin is requesting the establishment of a Stakeholder Committee to review current legislation and identify guidelines regarding abandoned pipelines to maximize surface land use opportunities future generations. The Stakeholder Committee could work in conjunction with Alberta Sustainable Resources who have recently commenced the development of a provincial Land Use Framework (LUF). The process includes consultation with stakeholders throughout Alberta in an effort to identify potential directions, principles, strategies, opportunities and solutions that could form a provincial LUF. Once complete, the LUF will establish an approach for governing and managing land, resources, and the natural environment in the face of growing development pressures.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.
Regulations to obligate owners of an abandoned pipeline to remove and reclaim the land were discussed at a recent meeting with the Minister of Environment, the Honourable Rob Renner. The Minister acknowledged that abandoned pipelines have the potential for environmental contamination that could result in reclamation expense for landowners, but that a balance needs to be struck to mitigate surface disturbance. Through formal ministerial meetings, the AAMDC will advocate this issue in ministerial meeting submissions for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Environment and Alberta Municipal Affairs. Resolution 24-07F also addresses the abandonment of pipelines.