First and foremost, observance of the polluter pay principle is primarily a matter of ensuring administrative justice is properly rendered by the authorities that issue energy activity licenses, permits and other approvals, and those charged with arbitration of compensation disputes. There are a number of such authorities depending on if the project is provincial or federal in nature. Fair and just administrative decision making can be realized through education and dispute resolution funding provided to real property owners to properly argue key (precedent setting) cases.
Safety and Regulatory Compliance
An incredible percentage of upstream oil and gas activities, including active, suspended, and abandoned wells, and various facilities and pipelines, are simply unsafe and unlawfully conducted. Regulatory oversight and enforcement are severely lacking, more so as to Alberta provincial oil & gas activities as compared to federally-approved activities. Regulatory non-compliance leads to imbalanced rights and related under compensation for actual losses and damages, which must be paid to the host landowner. The keys to restoration of public safety and appropriate compensation are balancing the rights of industry with those who own the property being used.
The Benefits of a Lobbyist and Advocacy
Alberta is awash in a sea of conventional oil and gas industry insolvency, industry debt, and unfunded oil and gas liabilities, which the taxpayer will end up paying for, not to mention public health and related health care costs and environmental damage . How did we get here? Industry successfully lobbies government for favours and circumvention of comprehensive Alberta laws, which are designed to ensure that only polluters and potential polluters pay for the consequences of their actions. A return to the rule of law benefits virtually everyone (other than oil executives and their captured friends in government and within administrative bodies).
The Negative Effects of Lack of a Countervailing Lobby
The lack of a countervailing lobby has created a situation where taxpayers, including landowners, will inevitably pay for the sins of industry absent positive change. This is unlawful and unacceptable.
The Polluter Pay Federation funding model can create a countervailing lobby equal to the power of industry’s relentless lobby efforts
Balanced Rights and Other Benefits
The benefits and services members of the Polluter Pay Federation will enjoy, primarily at the cost of industry as it should be and must be by law, are proper balance of rights. This means balance between the rights of industry on one hand, and host landowners and the taxpayer at large on the other hand.
Causing the polluter alone to pay for clean up of its mess, to operate safely and legally, and to pay fair rates of municipal taxation and landowner compensation are the simple requirements that the Polluter Pay Federation will ensure are achieved, by way of educating, assisting, and empowering surface rights owners to do so. The benefit all taxpayers will enjoy is they will not have to pick up the tab for dine and dash operators.