DAWSON CREEK - The government of British Columbia is extending its financial contribution for a Farmers Advocacy Office (FAO) so landowners can continue to receive information and support in northeast B.C. for compensation and mitigation discussions related to proposed oil and gas activities on residential land.
The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas (EMNG) will contribute $100,000 for the 2013/14 fiscal year. This amount will be matched by The Peace River Regional District (PRRD) to support future FAO operations.
The FAO is an independent operation from government. The office collects and disseminates information pertaining to agriculture and land use related to oil and gas development, and helps to resolve any issues that arise between landowners and industry.
Last year, government made a commitment of $80,000 to keep the FAO in operation during an operational audit. The review showed the FAO model can facilitate community engagement and positive negotiations between landowners and the oil and gas industry. EMNG will now work with the PRRD to define a long-term service model for the FAO, as well as long-term funding past the 2013/14 fiscal year.
The FAO was first established in January 2010 as an 18-month pilot project following a Memorandum of Understanding between the PRRD, EMNG and Ministry of Agriculture.
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas -
"A major commitment of our B.C. Natural Gas Strategy is to work with communities and stakeholders to develop a made-in-B.C. approach to local engagement. The Farmers Advocacy Office is able to support this focus by facilitating successful arrangements between industry and landowners, so job-supporting work can move forward and Northeast B.C. can continue to prosper."
MLA for Peace River South, Blair Lekstrom -
"Our government is committed to ensuring the ongoing operation of the Farmers Advocacy office and we are glad to see the positive work this office has done for the landowners of the region. I am especially proud of this office as I had the privilege of establishing it while I served as Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Development. This office is a great example of how our partnership with the Peace River Regional District can work for the benefit of our entire region."
Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Gas and MLA for Peace River North, Pat Pimm -
"The Farmers Advocacy Office has done an exceptional job in its first two years of operation, helping the relationship between industry and landowners in northeast B.C. As B.C.'s oil and gas sector continues to grow, the Farmers' Advocacy Office will play an important part in future negotiations for proposed industry activity on residential land."
Karen Goodings, chair of Peace River Regional District -
"The Peace River Regional District is very proud of the partnership with the ministry, and feels the Farmers' Advocacy Office service provided is key to keeping the respect between the oil and gas industry and landowners."
To learn more about British Columbia's natural gas sector, including full details about B.C.'s Natural Gas Strategy, visit: gov.bc.ca/ener/natural_gas_strategy.html
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas