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Alberta farmland bears permanent scars from oil and gas wells

A researcher in Alberta is pushing the provincial government to respond to findings that show reclaimed farmland is still showing the effects of oil and gas wells, despite requirements that land be reclaimed to its former state.


February 2, 2009
By Red Deer Advocate

Topics
February 2, 2009 
Red Deer, Alberta -Farmland throughout Alberta is bearing permanent
scars from oil and gas wells that have not been properly reclaimed, a
researcher says.

Agrologist Ty Faechner of the Agriculture Research and Extension Council
of Alberta recently presented his findings to the Pine Lake Surface Rights
Action Group.

His research indicates that while Alberta Environment requires that land be reclaimed to its former state, affected farmland falls far short of its
production capacity.

Don Bester, a member of the Pine Lake group and the United Landowners
of Alberta, said they are now pushing the province to respond to the
research.

"The landowner is still suffering considerable crop loss on these sites,
even though they've got reclamation done,'' Bester said.
"Some sites that are seven years old are still not producing the total
amount of grain (that they should). Some are as high as 80 percent
less.''

There are about 300,000 active wells that will be reclaimed at some
point in Alberta.

Problems identified at reclaimed sites include clay mixed with topsoil
topsoil and contaminants, he said.