The legacy of a century of oil and gas development in Alberta is much more than just riches. There are almost a half-million oil and gas wells, well over 400,000 kilometres of pipelines, and tens of thousands of assorted facilities that played a part in bringing wealth to governments, to Calgary office towers, and to regular Albertans’ pocketbooks.
But Alberta’s conventional oil and gas industry has long been mature and now is well into terminal decline, haunting the province with the spectre of cleaning up a hundred years’ poorly regulated mess.
In fact, the issue of how to reclaim many billions of dollars’ worth of environmental liabilities has grown to such proportions that I believe it is the single biggest issue facing Alberta today and threatening our tomorrow. And it could spill far beyond the province.