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Peace River landowners ready to move on after lawsuit settlement

One of the Peace River landowners involved in the now settled lawsuit against Baytex Energy says the families are ready to move on with their lives.

Baytex Energy has purchased the farm properties of four families who abandoned them due to health concerns from nearby heavy oil production, for an undisclosed price.

Affected landowner Brian Labrecque says their lawsuit has been settled with the energy company, and hopes their case can be an example for others’.

“There was a lot of awareness created. The provincial government stepped in as the regulator, so we’re hoping that they take it from here to ensure that other Albertans don’t have to experience what we’ve gone through in the past.”

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A public inquiry earlier this year found emissions from the Baytex plant in the area was affecting the health of nearby residents.

New regulations are now in place by the Alberta Energy Regulator requiring all companies to capture their produced gas, which Labrecque believes will make a difference.

“I know we all recognize there were some regulatory gaps, and a lot of those gaps have been closed up. I’m sure they’re prepared to go even further, but we did see some positive change as a result, and I think it will benefit all landowners in Alberta.”

Labrecque says some of the families have settled into new homes, while others are still looking at their options, but everyone’s ready to move on.

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