April 27, 2015


Article on (1) possible Constitutional Crisis – Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline; and (2) common threads with Orphan Well “Redwater” Appeal.

The above Article suggests landowners and municipalities can work together to restore the rule of law in Alberta as to energy matters, and suggests means to do so.

Article on the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in Ernst v. Alberta Energy Regulator, 2017 SCC 1

We have chosen “Surface Rights and Wrongs” as the name for our Newsletter and information publication.

First Edition, May 23, 2015:  Mandate of the Surface Rights Board, and Rights Not to be Denied

The following article is published in an effort to foster an understanding of how surface rights compensation should be determined, and how we approach compensation matters:   Surface Rights Compensation – A Balancing Act

A recent television documentary is informative, and we have critiqued this program. The problems of improperly suspended wells, lack of site reclamation, and oil company bankruptcy issues are the topics of the documentary.   A link to the program and the critique are provided here:

Article regarding the Global News Documentary: When the Oil Stops

We feel it is important for our clients, plus operators and surface rights owners in general, to more fully understand basic surface rights principles such as:

  • Operators and surface owners and occupants all have rights, which cannot be denied – achieving balance is the mandate of the Surface Rights Board when disputes arise;
  • surface rights compensation is not “rent”; and,
  • surface owners have remedies when irresponsible operators circumvent the laws of Alberta.

The Surface Rights Act may not be perfect legislation.  However, such Act is more than adequate to prevent the widespread problems we and our clients are plagued with.

Irresponsible operators on our valuable urban lands failed to identify and mitigate risks, license their operations properly, and to realize there are no provisions of Alberta law whereby it is legally possible to gain a right of entry for illegal and unsafe operations.  What they have done is expressly prohibited by law.

All that is required is for regulatory bodies to realize their procedures and requirements are easily circumvented by irresponsible operators.

The time for such realization is overdue.

Here is a link to an Alberta Energy document Energy Development in or Near Urban Areas  The document states it was for a round-table with stakeholders.  It is more related to mineral rights than surface issues.  Our experience is that the regulations mentioned are for show.  They are often not enforced (or understood or recognized by irresponsible operators in urban areas).