Fracking task force struck for Alberta by Matt Dykstra, March 18, 2014, Edmonton Sun
The provincial government will strike a task force to form an urban drilling policy [Didn’t the government repeatedly say the policy has been in the works for two years and was soon to be released, as in this? This is just another delay tactic to keep industry happy and fracing. Refer below for 2012 announcement by the same government to have policy in place by June 2013] in Alberta after Lethbridge residents raised major concerns about fracking within city limits.
Sheila Rogers, a member of the “No Drilling Lethbridge” group, visited the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday to give the government a petition opposing the drilling with 11,000 signatures. “We’re concerned about the health and safety of residents as there are big trucks and toxic materials going in and out of Lethbridge,” said Rogers, adding the group is also concerned about the possible drilling’s effect on property values.
Both Lethbridge-West MLA Greg Weadick and Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor say they support banning urban drilling in the area alongside Lethbridge City Council, both school boards, and the local chamber of commerce. Weadick said Energy Minister Diana McQueen has invited him to join a task force aiming to create an urban drilling policy for government alongside stakeholders and industry partners. “I would like to see this happen in a very timely manner,” he said, adding Alberta’s massive growth means municipalities don’t have the space to allow urban energy developments. “We want people to move into the province and not into large tracks where we can’t develop because there’s oil and gas development within urban areas.” [But it’s ok to destroy future developments for rural landowners and harm the health of families?]
As policy has been in the works for over a year and a half, opposition critics questioned the need for a task force to explore the “no brainer” decision to ban urban drilling. [Exploring doesn’t appear to be the government’s intent, delaying does] “It would give clarity to industry if they knew they couldn’t drill in urban areas and had to go off to other places,” said Liberal critic Kent Hehr, adding it’s “disappointing” that the policy isn’t already finished.
Alberta NDP critic Deron Bilous said the people of Lethbridge are frustrated and deserve immediate action. “For the people of Lethbridge, this has been top of mind for months and months now so to hear that there’s a task force is really more PC foot dragging,” he said. [Frac’d rural families have been living with dangerous, toxic drinking water for 9 years now. Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Tories crafting policy for urban oil well drilling by James Wood, June 25, 2012,Calgary Herald
The government wants to address areas such as setbacks, transportation of product and “what kind of development is appropriate within proximity to human residences,” he said. … The government wants the policy in place within the year. [June 2013] How the rules will be developed hasn’t yet been determined but there will be consultations with stakeholders, said Hughes. The government’s plans are being closely watched by the energy industry….
Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said Monday the issue of how local communities intersect with the energy industry does need to be dealt with, but it raises thorny questions around reconciling public and private interests. “We need to look at the nature of the activity, look at the risks associated with it and decide . . . how far do we wish to go to mitigate this risk? Obviously, you can absolutely mitigate it if you don’t allow the activity to occur. [Emphasis added]
February 2012: Urban oil, gas drilling could come at a price The well, already approved by the province’s Energy Resources Conservation Board, would also be a few hundred metres away from a strip mall, a jail – and a city water reservoir. Board officials, responding to public outcry, say they’re reviewing the matter…. In Calgary, an ERCB spokesman said the board’s review isn’t stopping the company, Kaiser Exploration, from starting to drill.