moved for leave to introduce Bill C-221, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (oil and gas wells).
Mr. Speaker, today I introduce the environmental restoration incentive act. I thank many members and colleagues for their support.
Canadian energy producers lead the world in remediation and reclamation but struggling small and medium-sized oil and gas producers are collapsing in real time, leaving fiscal and environmental liabilities.
The 2019 Redwater decision means at-risk small companies now cannot raise money for that purpose. Municipalities lose major revenue and facilities are left in different conditions. It is not evasion nor neglect by small gas producers, but a stark reality of their precarious economic positions. The number of orphan wells rose more than 300% since 2015. There are more than 130,000 inactive wells in Canada. Cleanup costs are estimated between $30 billion and $70 billion. The current orphan well system is overwhelmed and risks are costing taxpayers 100% of those costs.
My bill would enable small producers to raise money from investors exclusively for decommissioning oil and gas wells. It would incentivize and ensure private sector proponents can fulfill environmental responsibilities at the lowest public cost.
My bill is not a perfect remedy for this complex challenge that requires co-operation and ongoing action from federal and provincial governments. I ask all members to partner and prioritize real solutions for all Canadians.
We can make a real difference right away with a tax credit that can only be used the year a well is decommissioned, will only exist for six years, and will only be for small and medium-sized producers that need it the most, with further measures later on.
My bill would help the environment, create immediate jobs for oil and gas workers, and protect taxpayers.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)