By Emma McIntosh, David Bruser, Mike De Souza and Carolyn Jarvis
November 01, 2018
.... a system that now allows the largest companies to take centuries to clean up their toxic well site graveyards.
Until now, the public has been told the liabilities have been calculated at about $58 billion, far less than Wadsworth’s estimate. The report does not spell out what he based his estimate on and Wadsworth declined an interview. The government meanwhile has only collected $1.6 billion in liability security from companies.
The liabilities include costs that companies must assume to shut down aging and inactive oil and gas exploration wells, facilities and pipelines once they are no longer needed. Another significant part of the liability is the clean-up of toxic tailings ponds from oilsands extraction mines near Fort McMurrray. The ponds have sprawled to cover an area the size of Kelowna.
The tailing ponds are used by companies to dump the waste from the mining of bitumen. The process normally requires hot water to separate bitumen from the oily deposits of sand beneath the boreal forest in Alberta, leaving behind a yogurt-like sludge.