Oil and Gas wells are often located on agricultural land. Companies who own and operate these wells lease the land from the landowners, often a business or person involved in agriculture, such as a farmer or a rancher. Often, due to insolvency or financial hardship on part of the oil and gas company, many landowners do not receive their lease payments, received arbitrary reductions in lease payments or are left dealing with abandoned or inactive well sites on their property along with the associated environmental and financial risks.
A lack of overall accountability for these sites leaves agricultural landowners with no real avenue for recourse or recovery of their overdue lease payments, and burdens them with the operational and financial hardship associated with managing an unused site on their land.
The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions are aware of the current backlog in the SRB dealing with complaints. Changes proposed through Bill 22 to the SRB, and efforts by the provincial government seek to reduce the backlog of complaints handled by the SRB. Proposed changes include increasing the scope of the SRB process complaints unilaterally, without having to go to higher courts and streamlining the process for landowners to recover unpaid surface lease rental payments
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions continue to monitor well-site issues with the goal of helping farmers to navigate these issues and provide relevant resources.