David Bish Comments on Alberta Ruling Favouring Secured Creditors over Environmental Concerns

May 19, 2016

In a closely watched decision today, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, Neil Wittmann, has ruled that proceeds from the sale of assets in the Redwater Energy bankruptcy should be prioritized for paying back secured creditors instead of covering the abandonment costs of oil and gas wells. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) had argued that receiver Grant Thornton put aside enough money from the asset sale to cover decommissioning and remediation obligations. Partner David Bish provided insight for a CBC News article on the implications of the ruling. Below is an excerpt of the article.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said it is not yet able to comment on the decision. But Bish said the AER could still have some firepower.

The regulator put out a bulletin recently reminding people that it has other ways of going after companies that don't take care of their environmental obligations. That message was aimed at directors and officers of companies.

"The AER has very expansive powers with respect to steps that it could take against directors and officers and those are unquestionably intimidating," said Bish.

"So I don't think that anyone can breathe a sign [sic] of relief and feel like -- it's done we don't need to worry about the AER -- they still have teeth."

To read the full article, click here.


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