Ontario Taking Action to Address Risks Posed by Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

Sathia Kumar

Province investing $26 million to help protect communities from petroleum-related emergencies

The Ontario government is effective money management $23.6 million to foster a region wide technique that incorporates recognizing and stopping old oil and gas wells to protect networks. An extra $2.5 million will be assigned to the Region of Chatham-Kent to help with costs related with crisis the executives from the 2021 blast locally of Wheatley.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Graydon Smith stated, “This investment represents the first step in our government’s action plan to address the challenges and risks that old oil and gas wells pose to communities across Ontario.” Chatham-Kent and other affected municipalities will be able to assist in maintaining community safety and preventing future emergencies related to petroleum with this funding.

The $23.6 million will be put toward the creation of an oil and gas action plan to assist in mitigating the dangers posed by old wells and the study and investigation of these dangers. The funding consists of:

  • $7.5 million over three years to directly support municipalities in their efforts to reduce risks and enhance emergency preparedness within their communities. Eligible municipalities will be invited to apply for funding for these activities in the coming weeks.
  • Doubling of the existing Abandoned Works Program over three years to $6 million to support the plugging of old oil and gas wells.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent will receive an additional $2.5 million in order to assist with the ongoing costs of emergency management resulting from the Wheatley explosion. Over $25 million has been invested by Ontario to support the recovery, monitoring, and investigation efforts in Chatham-Kent, as well as the eligible businesses and residents who were evacuated.

Trevor Jones, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, stated, “We are continuing to listen to our residents and local leaders to ensure that our government’s plan addresses the needs of communities across Ontario, including Chatham-Kent.” This funding will assist municipalities in dealing with the dangers posed by outdated oil and gas wells and in maintaining community safety.

Industry, municipalities, Indigenous partners, other key stakeholders, and the general public will continue to provide ongoing guidance for the provincial action plan.

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