Liberals let big oil and gas off the hook, again: NDP « Canada’s NDP

January 25, 2022 at 9:00 am  Federal, Politics

OTTAWA – Today the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released his report on the massive economic and environmental liability looming from the 600,000 abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells across Canada. These aging wells pose an immense environmental risk from leaking highly damaging methane gas and other contaminants. Canadians expect their federal government to do its part to protect the environment, yet, despite the Liberals offering $1.7 billion in taxpayers’ money to help clean up Big Oil’s mess, we’re no closer to dealing with the environmental damage they have caused.

“The extent of the economic and environmental damage caused by big oil companies abandoning oil and gas wells is shocking,” said Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay and the NDP Natural Resources Critic. “What is even more shocking is that it’s not surprising. Once again, we see the public being asked to cover the costs for the damages done by a highly profitable industry.”

The PBO found that although the Liberals provided a $1.7 billion federal program to clean wells that had been abandoned by companies that went bankrupt, a significant amount was given to highly profitable companies who are already positioned to handle their own well remediation. The PBO states that giving money to profitable oil companies only increases the risk of the unfunded liability on abandoned sites.

“Why is the government giving money to profitable oil and gas companies for clean up? These are companies flush with profit. Surely, they can afford to clean up their own mess,” added Angus. “This is just another example of dishing out more massive subsidies.”

The Trudeau government must take responsibility for dealing with this failure of big oil to pay for the damages caused. Any funding for orphan oil wells must be directed towards creating and maintaining good-paying jobs and protecting the environment – not just another subsidy to the industry while they don’t do anything to fix the problem.

“The polluter pays. It is a simple concept yet under this government the polluter gets subsidized year in and year out. The industry is flush with cash. When is the government going to cut off the money taps and insist that the industry clean up its mess?”

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