NEWS
03/23/2016 08:46 EDT | Updated 03/24/2017 01:12 EDT

Politicians, industry disappointed with no funding for oil well cleanup in budget

CALGARY — Disappointment was the word of the day for those who had pushed for federal funding to help clean up the backlog of inactive oil wells that dot the Prairies.

Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan had asked for $156 million from the federal government to accelerate the cleanup of abandoned and dormant wells but was left empty-handed in Ottawa's budget statement Tuesday.

Commenting in Regina after the budget was released, Wall described the lack of funding as a disappointment because the proposed program, while imperfect, would have provided jobs for unemployed energy workers.

Meanwhile, Alberta party leader Greg Clark described it as a missed opportunity to put people back to work and help clean up the environment at the same time.

Clark has been pushing especially for funding to clean up orphaned wells, where the company that owns the well can't be found or has gone bankrupt.

Mark Salkeld, head of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, had asked for funding to speed up the decommissioning of wells that still have owners, and said he'll continue to push the provincial and federal governments for support.