Army finding itself on the front line of environmental defence in Alberta

Army finding itself on the front line of environmental defence in Alberta by Murray Brewster, June 24, 2012, Canadian Press
The army is finding itself increasingly on the front line of environmental defence. The issue has been percolating through the military, especially in light of a decision last year by the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board to approve 47 non-routine natural gas well applications by energy giant Cenovus. … Despite being given the green light by the provincial board, Cenovus has not drilled any wells, partly because of the rock-bottom price of natural gas and partly because of restrictions imposed by the military. “It’s still an important development for us, but we’re not moving quickly to try and develop them with gas prices where they are,” said Brett Harris, a spokesman for the energy company. In certain areas, National Defence has capped the number of “surface disturbances” at 16 — something that has irked the industry because the definition of a disturbance remains fuzzy. “That’s still an issue we’re trying to work out with the base and the Department of National Defence,” said Harris. “From our point of view it’s an arbitrary designation.” The military acknowledges the limit is precautionary and it’s studying the impact. But there is sustained pressure on National Defence, which is ultimately responsible for the land, to keep the industry at bay, especially in light of an Encana sweet gas well blowout at the base in October 2008.

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