Legal Header

AER appeal of Redwater Decision to Supreme Court of Canada

Protecting what matters – standing up for Albertans, Canadians, and the environment

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and Orphan Well Association have filed for leave to appeal the Redwater decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Farmers’ Advocate Office, Dene Tha’ First Nation, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan have provided materials in support of the appeal.

The May 19, 2016, decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in the matter of Redwater Energy Corp. allows receivers and trustees to disclaim AER-licensed assets and avoid their abandonment and reclamation obligations. Disclaiming unprofitable sites allows a company to reap the benefits of producing Alberta’s natural resources while avoiding the costs to repair the land, permanently impacting the environment, the economy, and the safety of Albertans. The majority decision of the Court of Appeal of Alberta upheld this decision.

In the 13 months since the decision, about 1 000 AER-licensed sites have been disclaimed with estimated liabilities of more than $56 million, and the Orphan Well Association’s inventory has more than doubled from almost 1 200 to more than 3 200.

The decision has resulted in an unacceptable risk to Albertans, presents an environmental risk across Canada and all industrial sectors, and undermines the foundation with which oil and gas licences are issued.

To review the AER’s application to appeal, visit the Supreme Court of Canada’s website.