Alberta urban drilling freeze? Yes, says Lethbridge city mayor and Chamber of Commerce

Drilling freeze? by Dave Mabell, March 4, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
Until Alberta implements a policy on oil and gas drilling in urban areas, no applications or mineral rights sales should be allowed. That’s the stand city council endorsed unanimously Monday, in its latest protest against proposed oilwell drilling in west Lethbridge. A Calgary-based company has proposed three exploratory wells within a short distance of schools and newly developed residential areas. At the same time, council urged that the updated Municipal Government Act include formal powers for cities and towns to say yes or no to any such projects. Council’s resolution followed a presentation earlier in the afternoon from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, which has also come out strongly opposed to any energy-related drilling inside the city.

Bruce Galts, president of the business organization, told council Lethbridge delegates would also be taking the issue to the Alberta Chambers’ convention this spring. “We took a fairly firm position,” he said, asking for a moratorium on resource drilling and development inside Alberta’s municipalities. Resource development in urban areas will result in significant negative economic and community impact,” the Lethbridge Chamber’s board warned in its official statement. … Outside urban areas, Galts added, the Chamber is not opposed to drilling or hydraulic fracking. [OK to poison and harm rural schools, children, communities, farms, businesses, landowners, families, life time investments, decades of working hard tending property without city services?]

The provincial Conservatives began promising an urban drilling policy last year, before Diana McQueen was shuffled into the energy ministry. She’s now speaking about it, reported Mayor Chris Spearman. McQueen “recently indicated that an urban drilling policy is coming soon,” he said. “So it makes sense to city council that any applications to the Alberta Energy Regulator to drill in urban areas should be put on hold until the provincial policy is announced and implemented.” But first, Spearman added, cities and towns should be asked how that policy should be written. “Urban drilling directly affects municipalities, so municipalities should be consulted in the development of that policy,” he maintained. Under council’s direction, the mayor will write McQueen to spell out this city’s concerns. Monday’s resolution reinforces one approved by council shortly after last fall’s civic election. In November, councillors voted to go on record against urban drilling because of the limits it could place on further residential developments in the city’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Fracking ‘silence’ for life: Gag orders on children & censored government data

The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) frac motion commotion

Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada, Federal Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan Reports Concerns, List of Fracking Substances in Canada Still Secret

Nova Scotia: Inverness County residents voice fracking ban support, Council seems poised to move ahead with anti-fracking bylaw

Wheatland County in Alberta pushes fracking resolution

Wheatland County (Alberta) Councillors call for Fracking Halt until Protective Methods are Developed

Local councils to be stripped of right to decide on fracking, Ministers are hoping to speed up Britain’s shale gas “revolution” by taking away powers from local councils to decide on controversial fracking projects

Laurie Blakeman questions Alberta Environment Minister Diana McQueen on Groundwater and Hydraulic Fracturing, McQueen responds “That’s a silly question” when asked about baseline water testing before fracing

EnCana waste dumping on Rosebud foodland in 2012, Screen Capture from FrackingCanada’s Short Film Home

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