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The CAEPLA Workshop Series combines professional development, social interaction and great entertainment

Published in May, 2019

Dealing with land agents and ultimately working with companies directly to achieve a “win, win” business agreement for you is our specialty. And has been for decades.

By Annette Schinborn

One of the big lessons front line members of the landowner movement have learned over the years is that landowners need to work together to protect their property rights when dealing with energy companies. This is true despite the fact that farmers and ranchers are independent people who naturally don’t feel like they need any help making decisions.

At CAEPLA, our experience has been that pretty much everyone is like that—whether they are farmers, ranchers, acreage or recreational property owners.

But even in the information age we live in, none of us can possibly know it all.

Of course, it is true we are knowledgeable in our area of specialization. Farmers are familiar with crop rotations, the type of chemical they need for a particular crop, the type of seed they need along with everything else that goes into surviving and thriving in modern agribusiness.

And continuing education is probably more important in farming than in any other career or business.

But no matter how well you think you know “your” land agent, most people forget that the agent’s first loyalty and fiduciary duty is to the company they work for—not you.

Good chance you’ve had plenty of land agents at your kitchen table and signed enough agreements to feel familiar with whatever they put in front of you, even if you are not an expert in the fine print.

Perhaps your own lawyer has even said, “Sure, this looks like a standard agreement.”

What CAEPLA has learned from decades of experience, though, is that most lawyers are not as up to speed on easement agreements, regulations and the fundamentals of property rights as they ought to be.

And why would a landowner or even most lawyers know all these intricacies? After all, you are busy running your business and looking after your family. You are a specialist in agriculture. A land agent is a specialist in getting easement agreements signed as quickly as possible with as little fuss as possible.

That is why you need CAEPLA. Fortunately, dealing with land agents and ultimately working with companies directly to achieve a “win, win” business agreement for you is our specialty. And has been for decades.

One hard-learned lesson is that the National Energy Board (NEB) is not your friend. The NEB came into this world as an expropriator, and, even as it has pretended to be all things to all people in recent years, it remains an agent of legal land theft. Its heir apparent, the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), is likely to be much worse.

As a pipeline landowner, you will have this infrastructure on your property for a lifetime. And once an Energy Corridor Canadian, always an Energy Corridor Canadian—where one pipe is laid down, others are sure to follow.

CAEPLA built our business representing yours—we are the landowner’s advocate on the ground. We’re there for you, the landowner, from the conception of a pipeline project through to abandonment, decommissioning and beyond.

That’s why we have been working hard with industry, driving critical research into soil sciences and remediation, so property owners don’t need to worry about what’s left on their land long after a pipe has been replaced. This is all part of our commitment to promoting the stewardship rights and responsibilities of farmers and ranchers.

Research is key to the continuing education of the landowner movement. Out of the belief that learning is a lifetime commitment and knowledge is power came our increasingly popular Workshop Series. Think of it as a hybrid—a cross between professional development and real-world social networking.

The CAEPLA Workshop Series was designed by and for landowners. The inaugural workshop debuted in November 2015, and has grown steadily ever since. It has covered topics including safely crossing pipelines, integrity digs, biosecurity, pipeline construction 101 and remediation 101.

The pipeline construction 101 event presented an interactive, hands-on pipeline model that illustrated the process of transporting different types of oil products—from holding tank to refinery.

The latest and best workshop of the series so far was this past December 2018. A presentation that was a great follow-up to the interactive pipeline model, Peter Hansen, senior advisor of community relations with Enbridge, illustrated the different types of oil products from oil sands crude to sweet crude and the products that flow through Enbridge pipelines.

Families brought school-aged children. They loved the hands-on educational approach and were highly engaged, asking questions and commenting on what they were learning.

And the Workshop Series has built on its educational and social foundations to include great entertainment value, too!

Special guest and reality TV star Greg “the Tornado Hunter” Johnson inspired everyone with his often humorous tales of risk-taking. He is one of North America’s top professional storm-chasers and severe weather experts.

Now, Greg doesn’t have pipelines on his property. Like most Canadians, his exposure to the pipeline industry is what he’s heard on the news. As he listened to Peter Hansen talk about the types of oil, the many products we use every day that are produced from the different refined products, and the economic impact on our country, he turned to Dave Core (CAEPLA’s director of special projects) and said, “My friends need to hear this, everyone needs to hear this!”

By popular demand, the Workshop Series will continue across the country. We look forward to “taking the show on the road” so more Energy Corridor Canadians can connect at an informative, interactive, and entertaining event across pipeline country —stay tuned!

Annette Schinborn is chief executive officer at CAEPLA, having served previously as COO and director of landowner relations. Before joining the team at CAEPLA, Annette worked with grassroots non-profits including the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Prairie Centre and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. She has worked closely with farmers, ranchers and other land- owners on issues such as tax and agricultural policy, energy transport and property rights.

Published in PIPELINE OBSERVER SPRING 2019