Opposing fracking in city needs support of our MLAs by Michael Cormican, January 5, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
To our Lethbridge MLAs:
Though I know you both voiced your views as against fracking at the demonstration in Galt Gardens in the fall, I want to advise you of my opposition to the practice of fracking, too, not only within the city but close to any populated areas. It is my hope that everyone will add their voice similarly so you know clearly where we stand in relation to the Goldenkey proposal. Knowing how human nature tends to respond to stimuli, it is my hope that everyone will ensure you know their wishes, too, and that you will also convey same to those needing to be aware of such wishes since the system has been set up to favour the corporate world, in this case energy interests.
I anticipate you are likely well aware of many reasons from near and far around the world that now, after many years of hindsight, demonstrate why we need to be cautious of fracking practices which are banned in many areas throughout the world including Pennsylvania, New York and others closer to home. Need I remind you the effects including illnesses to humans and even deaths of birds and other animals caused by sour gas around Pinched Creek and Vulcan in the ’70s and more recently in the Cochrane area.
No one can assure me that such practices are safe when in so many areas tapped water that was safe can be lit and proven to have all kinds of contaminants in it and is now undrinkable. Even representatives of companies dealing with those affected obviously know they have caused such when they offer people free water from elsewhere and compensation on the proviso that they “not discuss it.” I for one do not trust the euphemisms and lingo of their “hotshot” reps who they engage to get their way and aided and abetted by government since hindsight demonstrates almost no applications are refused. The best approach is not allow such practices to start.
I thank you for your continued work on our behalf and wish you the best as you continue to represent us. Let’s continue to work for the weaker and affected since the big guy has the wherewithal to get what he wants and let’s also be cognizant of the effects of our actions not only on those around us but especially our environment.
What about financial impact of drilling in Lethbridge? by Jeannine Schulz, January 5, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
Despite assurance from industry and government that fracking is safe, a review of numerous studies indicates that there are major risks to our health and environment. However, there may be another unexpected consequence to the proposed Goldenkey Oil project that many may have not considered – the financial implications.
One of southern Alberta’s top realtors has indicated that property values could fall from four to 16 per cent. Is this acceptable to Lethbridge residents? This could also impact the City of Lethbridge budget as lower market values of properties would result in lower tax revenues. In addition, if drilling causes damages to residences due to underground failures in old mine tunnels, then property values would be further decreased.
Will Goldenkey Oil, AER or the Government of Alberta assure us that they will pay for the difference of the current market values of our homes and the devalued home prices, as well as any structural damages? It would not be fair for residents to have the responsibility of undertaking legal action in order to be compensated for financial loss resulting from a decision that they did not choose.
If you want to learn more about the hazards of fracking and the steps you may take to voice your concerns, please visit No Drilling in the City of Lethbridge [Emphasis added]
Speak up against drilling in city limits by Kevin Floate, January 2, 2013, Lethbridge Herald
Goldenkey is a small company that proposes to drill three oil wells from two surface locations in city limits in west Lethbridge. Each location will be associated with storage tanks, a pump jack, equipment sheds and a flare stack. Each location will be surrounded by a 100-metre setback with additional smaller setbacks associated with pipelines that will carry solution gas from the well heads to an existing pipeline network. The proposed locations are 0.9 and 1.5 km upwind of existing homes.
Goldenkey assures us that the fracking associated with the project will not contaminate the ground water and that dangerous levels of gases will not be released. Noises, odours or dust will be kept to a minimum. Oil and waste products from the wells will be trucked out of town in large transport vehicles using a designated hazardous goods route (University Drive). Guidelines set by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will be followed at all times.
But accidents happen. Last month, an earthen berm gave way and released 670 million litres of toxic coal slurry into tributaries of the Athabasca River. Earlier this summer, more than 1.5 million litres of a heavy crude oil and water emulsion unexpected oozed out of the ground near Cold Lake. Former Energy Minister Ken Hughes has referenced Los Angeles as an urban centre with a safe history of oil drilling. In September, members of their city council submitted a motion to impose a moratorium on urban oil and gas “well stimulation.”
City council opposes the Goldenkey project, which will affect future urban development and reduce property values. Others in opposition include our local MLAs, Lethbridge School District No. 51 and the hundreds of citizens that have attended local rallies. None of this matters. Approval of the proposal is solely within the jurisdiction of the AER.
The AER is funded by the oil and gas industry. It is chaired by the founding president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which advocates on behalf of their members. This is not to suggest that the AER is biased, but the optics are not good.
If you do not want oil drilling in city limits, speak up, get educated and get engaged. Two places to start are http://lpirg.org/petition/ and http://www.klew.org/.