FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2023
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady is encouraged by the announcement of a program to address abandoned gas wells. In March, Brady called on the Ontario government to deal with abandoned gas wells.
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith announced today the government would be rolling out a $23.6 million program to identify and plug old gas wells. The funding will be used to develop an oil and gas action plan to help address the risks of old wells and conduct science and research to better understand the risks that old oil and gas wells pose. Included in the announcement is $7.5 million for eligible communities to reduce risks and increase emergency preparedness and a doubling of the funding in the Abandoned Works program. The latter has been used by landowners in Norfolk County to plug wells.
In March, Brady asked Smith in the Legislature about the government’s strategy in regard to abandoned gas wells. According to long-standing provincial policy, capping these wells is the responsibility of the landowner where the well is located. She also differentiated that she fully supported licensed, still-operating gas wells used by farmers in the riding.
“In Norfolk County alone there are 2,634 dormant wells — one of which has been in the news for years,” Brady said at the time. “The county lacks the expertise to remedy the well and little help is available to monitor the situation. Speaker, one more problem well could financially destroy the municipality.”
Pointing to money the federal government gave Alberta to deal with abandoned oil wells, Brady called on the minister to intensify the call to the federal government for assistance. She also pointed to a McGill University study that concluded methane gas – which is a greenhouse gas – leaking from abandoned wells has been underestimated and the potential for a “powder keg” situation like the one in Wheatley.
“I’m glad the government took what I had to say seriously,” Brady said. “This is a serious problem and one beyond the means of landowners, or even the municipalities means to deal with.”
For more information, contact MPP Bobbi Ann Brady at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]