Potential land buyers have avenues to access environmental information

With more than 150,000 abandoned well sites across Alberta, the importance of proper research for homebuyers cannot be overstated.

With more than 150,000 abandoned well sites across Alberta, the importance of proper research for homebuyers cannot be overstated.

The Environmental Law Agency recently released a document called What lies beneath? Buyer Beware, which shows potential homebuyers how to research the history of their land.

Author Adam Driedzic says the issue is not something that can be found in land title searches, but with the proper know-how, he feels people have a better chance at confirming if there are potential issues.

“The need to look for environmental problems is more of a modern day concern,” explained Driedzic .

The oil and gas industry began well before public calls for environmental responsibility and old oil and gas areas are now becoming residential subdivisions. “There’s thousands of leaking gas stations in Alberta,” Driedzic says.

He has two documents that help homebuyers: the first is a brief booklet that provides quick tips and Internet links showing public information and the second is a guide walking readers through detailed questions such as how Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) works and how legal land descriptions works.

“If you can spot red flags, you can learn what questions to ask . . . that’s more important than jumping into a paper chase,” says Driedzic.

The document is more about educating landowners rather than fighting the industry and it also provides tips on how to ask questions. “It’s not all about oil and gas. It’s about a busy landscape.”

Check out www.elc.ab.ca for more information and see the links under What’s New to read more.