Manitoba is on track to have another record year in its southwestern oil fields, but that could mean more spills, which has an area farmer calling for better regulations.
Carlyle Jorgensen of Cromer, Man., says there has been a number of oil spills in his area, including one involving a Tundra Oil and Gas line early this year.
The Tundra spill, which was reported on Jan. 25, leaked about 56,000 litres of oil, according to the Manitoba government.
There were 97 oil spills in Manitoba's oil patch last year, and 61 spills have been reported so far this year, according to the province.
Oil companies face up to $100,000 in provincial fines, but Manitoba has never fined any company.
Keith Lowdon of the government's petroleum branch says companies do have to rehabilitate the land where a spill has occurred.
"I think what happens [is] if you look at the cost of the cleanup on a spill, the majority of the companies don't want that," Lowdon said.
But Jorgensen says land owners get stuck with the long-term environmental impact, and the rental fees they get from the pumps don't come close to making up for it.
"The position that a lot of us are starting to realize is that there isn't any amount of money that could be paid to us landowners for us to accept the environmental responsibility that comes with having these types of installations on our land," he said.
Tundra Oil and Gas has refused to comment on the January spill.
The provincial government is investigating why the number of oil spills is increasing, but officials note that the volume of oil being spilled has gone up only slightly.
Meanwhile, the province is meeting with industry officials this week as it rewrites its drilling incentive program.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an industry group, is worried about cuts to those incentives.
Oil companies operating in southwestern Manitoba have spent $4 billion in the province in the past four years.
A statistical study on the impact of the oil industry on Manitoba's economy is due next month.