Such is life in a petro-state. Alberta has about 150,000 abandoned or dormant wells, many of them on farmland. The farmers didn't want them but they couldn't stop them going in either. What they didn't understand is how they'd get screwed by the fossil fuelers on the other end, when the well ran dry.
In many cases the well is owned by a shell company, a subsidiary of a big energy producer. When it's making money the cash flows through the subsidiary to the parent. When the good times end, the parent lets the subsidiary fall into bankruptcy and walks away leaving the farmer holding the bag.
Bad as the situation is for the Alberta farmer, Ecojustice lawyer, Barry Robinson, says a far bigger calamity could be in store from the Tar Sands.
As of 2015, the provincial government held $1.6 billion in reclamation bonds to clean up the oilsands — that's against $21 billion in estimated clean-up costs. Alberta's auditor general raised concerns last summer that the province wasn't holding enough on deposit.
It's a very real possibility that, in the not too distant future, the Tar Sands could become a stranded asset, abandoned by investors, bankers and the energy giants. Someone is going to have to pony up nearly $20-billion for clean up and reclamation. This giant tailing ponds won't clean up themselves. Who do you think will be writing the cheque?