Minister Lekstrom continued with the announcements today at a Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Dawson Creek.
This announcement looks at ways to create and enhance community life and improve relations between landowners and oil and gas industry in Northeastern BC. Several programs and regulatory areas that were identified in the BC Energy Plan, have been developed.
The following is the information provided by the Ministry about each program
Flaring Reduction Prior to 2016
The Oil and Gas Commission will seek further reduction opportunities, regulatory enhancements and innovative techniques to accelerate the BC Energy Plan goal of eliminating routine flaring by 2016. The commission will be releasing an annual report with a summary of highlights to date and a new quarterly reporting process will provide more information to residents about the steps being taken to manage these emissions.
Develop Best Practices to be a Good Neighbour The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, in co-operation with industry, will start a regional "good neighbour" initiative between companies and landowners. Its focus will be on matters of community concern such as speed and dust control.
Establish an Independent Farmer’s Advocate An independent position will be created to work directly with private landowners regarding understanding property rights, potential agricultural implications and negotiating with industry. It’s expected the new Farmer’s Advocate will provide direct information and support to landowners who are engaging industry.
Create a Land Agent Code of Conduct and New Licensing Requirements The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources will review professional designation and licensing requirements for land agents. This will build on the Code of Conduct for Land Agents developed in collaboration with community and oil and gas industry representatives. The Oil and Gas Commission will receive and track reports of non-compliance and provide reports back to the ministry.
Implement a Standard Surface Lease Agreement Landowners who receive notifications of sale of the subsurface tenure will now receive an enhanced information package including a new surface lease agreement. Through the Northeast Energy and Mines Advisory Committee (NEEMAC), landowner and industry groups have reached agreement on key principles for the new B.C. standard surface lease agreement. This type of private agreement between landowners and industry is critical to a respectful and fair business relationship where industry is accessing private property.
Enhance the Mediation and Arbitration Board The ministry will review an enhanced role for the Mediation and Arbitration Board to further improve processes for landowners. This role may include allowing landowners to file for compensation from damage from an activity and assisting in resolving disputes arising from non-compliance with the surface lease agreement.