Auditor general gives qualified approval to how Alberta spent oil well cleanup money

Alberta’s auditor general is giving qualified approval to how the provincial government handled the billion dollars it got from Ottawa to clean up oil and gas wells and get service contractors back to work.

Doug Wylie says in a report Tuesday that the program was well run, but the government wasn’t ready for how quickly things in the energy industry change.

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He says oil prices rose so high over the course of the program that energy companies began to put their money into exploration instead of cleanup.

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That means some of the money could be left unspent and go back to the federal government.

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Wylie also criticized the province for not providing figures on how many wells have been cleaned up, as other provinces who benefited from the federal program have.

He says that by the end of December, the program had spent $580 million and created 2,800 jobs.

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