Oil drilling issue to resurface? by Dave Mabell, May 28, 2015, Lethbridge Herald
West Lethbridge residents may be facing another oil-drilling proposal.
Bids were being accepted Wednesday for a lease covering more than 1,150 hectares of land, with rights to drill for oil or natural gas.
A map on an Alberta Energy website site shows the drill site would be near the Sunset Acres residential development — and to the Oldman River, source of the city’s drinking water.
The location is not far from an earlier scheme by Goldenkey Oil from Calgary, which would have seen several exploratory wells drilled near the Copperwood neighbourhood and the city’s two westside high schools.
Faced with strong opposition from Lethbridge citizens and city council, Goldenkey backed away last year from plans to drill inside city limits. Newly elected Lethbridge MLAs Shannon Phillips and Maria Fitzpatrick were among thousands of residents who stood opposed, signing petitions or attending rallies calling for Goldenkey to abandon its plans.
Phillips, now the province’s minister responsible for environmental protection, was not available for comment Wednesday. Her officials in Edmonton said she was busy at a cabinet meeting in Calgary.
A request for comment from Marg McCuaig-Boyd, the new minister responsible for Alberta Energy, was also unsuccessful Wednesday. But a department official said more information will be available soon.
Last year, the city’s new MLAs were not the only political leaders to speak up. Mayor Chris Spearman and incumbent MLAs Bridget Pastoor and Greg Weadick also voiced their support for Lethbridge residents’ demands.
In addition to safety concerns voiced by local residents, the city cited the costs of alienated, undevelopable land and the need for more evacuation routes in the case of an oilfield emergency.
The new proposal is outside city limits, however, and no longer an “urban drilling” issue.
Bob Willard, Senior advisor at the Alberta Energy Regulator, agreed to speak about current regulations.
David Kattenburg: Why aren’t these things being monitored for in the gases that are coming out from flaring and incineration stacks?
Bob: The long list that you’ve identified would be the responsibility for monitoring of not only the Alberta Energy Regulator, but the Environment department themselves, and I would direct you once again to ESRD for them to identify what their plans are relative to updating those guidelines.
David: I have actually, I’ve tried valiantly I’d say to try to get them to explain to me why they have these guidelines that say all industry MUST conform to these guidelines, and then I said well why does directive 60 of the Alberta Energy Regulator only establish monitoring requirements for sulfur dioxide and he said: “speak to the Alberta Energy Regulator.”
Bob: Um, it is important, and this is something the Energy Regulator does lead, is capturing the metrics of the volumes of material, so we do have good metrics as to the volumetrics.
David: But essentially nothing about the composition of those gases, other than sulfur dioxide.
Bob: A totally accurate composition, I would certainly volunteer that no, we do not have a totally accurate comprehensive information on the flare composition rather, we have it for the uh volumes, but not necessarily for the compositions.
Encana well blowout after fracking leaves oily mess of spewing natural gas, propane, butane, benzene and toluene, forces 2 dozen families from their homes in Karnes County, Evacuees anxious to see the damage to their homes
More recently, New Democrat leader MLA Rachel Notley included a ban on urban drilling for natural gas in her party’s election promises. She was also elected on a promise to review the royalty rates paid to Albertans by regional and international companies draining the province’s energy reserves.
Closer to home, the No Drilling Lethbridge group went “on hiatus” after Goldenkey announced it was not proceeding. But its Facebook page indicates residents are concerned about the energy officials’ latest sale of development rights.
Responding to concerns voiced by Albertans in Lethbridge and beyond, the long-running Conservative government several years ago promised a new policy would be developed — hopefully balancing the values of city residents with the economics of the energy industry. But no new approach was announced before its defeat in the May 5 election. [Is this offer a sneak in before the new government brings in an urban drilling policy? Emphasis added]
Energy Lease Offer Accepted For Area West of Lethbridge by 94.1 CJOC, May 28th 2015
The accepted public offering involves an area near the Sunset Acres development, that’s also in close proximity to the Oldman river. According to the province, an Alberta company’s offer for a petroleum and natural gas lease has been accepted for a stretch of land just west of Lethbridge. This weeks public offering involves an area near the Sunset Acres development, that’s also in close proximity to the Oldman river. The accepted offer for the 11 hundred hectare space comes from Long Fortune Petroleum. At this point it is just a lease for the rights and not an application to drill. – Tom Roulston
For more information: No Drilling Lethbridge
Slide from 2014 03 Ernst presentation in Lethbridge
March 31, 2014 Devastation Day for Alberta’s Water: The Oil and Gas Industry takes over total control of Alberta’s Fresh Water as “No Duty of Care” Spying AER now a single regulator, 100% funded by industry, takes over Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Water Act
New York State to ban fracking because of red flags to public health. Health Commissioner Howard Zucker: “Would I let my child play in a school field nearby? After looking at the plethora of reports, my answer would be no.”
100% industry funded Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) denies Albertans their right to speak, just as the 67% industry funded ERCB denied directly and adversely affected landowners their right to speak and violated Charter rights