Should Alberta have to return $130 million in unspent environmental cleanup?

It’s not often we hear of government projects coming under budget but Alberta only spent 87% of the $1 billion in federal funding to resolve environmental risk from inactive, aging oil and gas wells. Although the initial surge of applicants overwhelmed government staffers they recovered to approve $1 billion in projects. But 3,445 projects were not completed within the three-year timeframe, leaving $130 million on the table.

Alberta Energy Minister Pete Guthrie hopes to keep the funds in the province for continued environmental cleanup, stating to the CBC “I have written to the federal government to keep the left-over funds here in Alberta.” Likewise, Stephen Buffalo of the Indian Research Council would like to see the money “spent on the continued remediation of wells on First Nations land.”

The article states that “the province still has tens of thousands of inactive oil and gas wells, which pose an environmental risk because of the potential soil and water contamination, in addition to the release of methane gases.” The funds were part of a 3-year $1.7 billion federal program launched in 2020 “aimed at addressing the environmental risk of the aging oil and gas infrastructure, while also providing jobs.”

Bakx, Kyle
Alberta may have to return $130M in unspent federal funding for oil and gas cleanup