One of the farmer's dugouts, filled with diesel.
One of the farmer's dugouts, filled with diesel.
One of the farmer’s dugouts in Westlock, Alberta, filled with diesel.

WESTLOCK, Alberta – John Talbott, a resident of the rural community of Westlock Alberta, was approached last week by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) after neighbours complained about the condition of his dugout.  Upon arrival, the AER investigator and lead Environmental Engineer for the region noted that the resident’s dugout was not filled with water, but diesel fuel.

Mr. Behindmee, P.Eng.

We arrived on the premises and did not have to look very hard to find the problem.  Mr. Talbott had filled his dugout with nearly 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Yes, diesel. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, not even back home.

It is interesting though, because he has a permit issued by the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) for a designated “fuel pit.” We have no idea what that is or how they were defining it, but we are going to investigate further.  – Baggdaguy Behindmee, P.Eng, AER

Mr. Talbott, a self-proclaimed survivalist, makes no apologies for his fuel storage pond, and was adamant that he jumped through many hoops and lots of paperwork to get the ERCB (the predecessor to the AER) to sign off on his dugout.  It took him 2 years and several hundred dollars to get the permissions, but he has all copies of the paperwork readily available and notarized by an Edmonton-based Lawyer.

Farmer Talbott

I wanted to store enough fuel for a couple of years.  Not if, but when the apocalypse starts, I should be able to keep farming and driving, heating my home, etc.  Not to mention the ability to barter fuel for other supplies.  Have you ever seen Mad Max?  Just like that.

It may be a concern for some due to the fuel leaching into the dirt, but I originally filed an application with a doomsday on it, so it won’t matter anyways.  It was approved, and now some yuppity neighbour wants me to drain it and reclaim the land?  I’ll light it first. – John Talbott, Westlock AB

Photo taken of Farmer Talbott building his dugout (snapped by neighbour)

While the paperwork is authentic and notarized as Talbott has mentioned, it seems the AER has a slight predicament on its hands.  If they go back on a decision made by the ERCB, and force the man to abandon his fuel pit in favour of proper storage tanks, it would open the door for other historical decisions to be overturned.

A decision to force Mr. Talbott to abandon his fuel pit could be a very slippery slope.  It might allow the AER a legal precedence to also pursue people for historical dump sites and outhouse pollution.  An entire division of the AER may well have to be dedicated to clean-up duty.  It would be a massive undertaking, but at the same time, it could create a lot of jobs for Albertans. – Miley Redford, Alison’s 3rd step-cousin twice removed, in law.



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