Alberta’s boom bankrupting environment says top scientist

Alberta’s boom bankrupting environment says top scientist by Bob Weber, March 11, 2007, The Canadian Press
Alberta could be booming itself into environmental bankruptcy, says new research from one of the province’s top scientists. … Coalbed methane, which involves extracting natural gas from tiny pockets in coal seams, is just starting in Alberta. One of the prime areas for expansion is near the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, where most of Alberta’s population expansion is likely to occur. “How do you drill 80,000 coalbed methane wells over several million folks?” Stelfox asked. As well, water demand is expected to grow fastest in the south, where river flows are already declining in both quality and quantity. Industrial, residential and agricultural demand on aquifers is also exploding, despite the lack of information on how much water those underground sources can supply…. “When you look at the individual plans on their own, they seem to make a lot of sense,” he said. “When you grow them all together in concert, what it shows you is that the cumulative effects are such that it casts significant doubt as to the viability of these plans. We have land uses bumping into each other.”… “The evidence is everywhere that the status quo is unacceptable.”

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