‘Call to action’ draws crowd in Lethbridge, No Drilling Lethbridge volunteers going door-to-door to educate residents and get petition signed

‘Call to action’ draws crowd by Nick Kuhl, January 14, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
Visiting each and every one of the westside’s about 13,500 homes, in order to provide updated information of Goldenkey Oil’s proposed fracking operation, is the latest goal for organizers of opposition group No Drilling Lethbridge. During a one-hour “Call to Action” meeting at G.S. Lakie Middle School Tuesday evening, the small volunteer group, which already has more than 2,000 signatures on a petition, was seeking more people to help spread their messages to west Lethbridge residents.

Laurie Chinn, one of the organizers, said they need about 70 people to accomplish the task by their target date Jan. 27. The meeting was also to provide a brief overview and update on oil drilling and fracking within Lethbridge city limits and on how to further accomplish a letter-writing and petition campaign. “We’re asking for the public’s help in spreading the awareness and reaching out with our petition and teaching people how to write their statement of concern,” Chinn said in advance of Tuesday night’s gathering. We’ve created a meeting just to give the public an update of where we’re at. We need to pool together as a community now.”

For the door-to-door campaign, members of the No Drilling Lethbridge group are hoping to provide residents with a list of concerns and risks, including property values, proximity to schools and dangerous goods being transported. They also plan to expand to the northside and southside after homes on the westside have been notified. “Not that it’s just a westside issue, but we’re going to start with that. Our priority right now is the westside residents, because they are the closest,” Chinn said. “We realize that there are wells already out there, but these ones are different. Those ones are not flaring, they’re not sour gas and they’re not fracked wells. Residents need to do some research and realize what is actually proposed here. It’s not what’s already out there.” Chinn took a small campaign to homes in Copperwood and SunRidge last November and found out there were many people who were fully unaware of Goldenkey’s proposal. “I was shocked at how little of Lethbridge was aware of this issue, or realized the severity and the urgency of it,” she said. “The majority of people are happy, on their doorstep, that someone is coming to them. This issue has been embraced and people want more knowledge.” 

The website www.nodrillinglethbridge.com has also been launched to provide more information on the group’s goals. [Emphasis added]

Reader response:

Rural Alberta says:
January 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

“We realize that there are wells already out there, but these ones are different. Those ones are not flaring, they’re not sour gas and they’re not fracked wells. Residents need to do some research and realize what is actually proposed here. It’s not what’s already out there.”

If frac’ing goes ahead in Lethbridge, it’s probably wise to keep an eye on the wells that are already out there, and any wells that “may have been lost in the shuffle.”

“Communication” or “frack hits” of wells is reportedly a big problem for industry, and I wouldn’t count on the workers to keep an eye on things.

When a frac job near innisfail communicated with an old well, secret frac fluids, oil and whatever else, was sent spewing out of the old well with the frac crew oblivious a km away. A farmer noticed the geyser, called the regulator’s emergency response line – where there was no answer – and had to find the frac crew to let them know their toxic fluids were spewing out, flowing about 400m away from the old well and dripping off trees.

“Some fractures get away from the drillers, extending even as far as adjacent formations. Using microseismic technology, researchers in Pennsylvania recently found one extending as far away as 1,800 feet, as reported by the Associated Press. In the case of the Alberta spill, regulators found that an oil well 3,000 feet away was being fracked, and it had communicated with the well that lost control. About 20,000 gallons of fracking fluid and oil had to be cleaned up. The fractures move toward the regions of lowest pressure, which can be a nearby well bore. Once a channel is established, the pressures of around 10,000 pounds per square inch travel rapidly across the formation to the older well. It pushes fracking fluid and whatever is at the bottom of the producing well — oil, gas and produced water — up the old well bore, which is not equipped to handle high pressures.

… The risk is high when the frack hits communicate with older producing wells or abandoned wells. … ‘If it doesn’t get inside the well bore, it can migrate up the outside of the well bore; there are water aquifers up there,’ Beck said. He described aging cement as a layer of bubble gum wrapped around the steel pipe casing a well. It separates from the well bore with time, especially in areas where the geology is sandy or swampy, and provides a path to the groundwater aquifer.

How probable is it? … In the Montney Formation of Alberta, about 30 percent of the well bores that are up to 1,500 feet apart experience frack hits, Beck said.”


More pictures of Innisfail frack hit: frackingcanada.ca/storage/20120113HydroFrackBlowsOutanOilWellInnisfailAlbertaCanada.pdf

“At times, fracking goes awry. The webs can connect with existing fractures in the shale and, in highly drilled areas such as the Cardium Shale of Alberta, create channels to nearby, older well bores. In such cases, known as ‘frack hits,’ the pumped-in fracking fluid and sand flows underground, propelled by the immense pressures, and up the older well, causing a blowout and a spill.

That’s what happened at Drayton Valley. Such cases were unusual in Alberta in 2011, and workers and regulators scrambled to figure out what could have gone wrong. The events were disclosed to EnergyWire in response to a Freedom of Information Protocol request.

Alberta regulators recorded more than 21 such incidents between 2010 and 2012 with at least seven resulting in spills of thousands of gallons of wastewater, fracking fluids and crude oil, according to documents. In other cases, though there were no spills, fracking fluid flooded well bores and the wells had to be shut down temporarily.”


And for those old abandoned wells that “may have been lost in the shuffle,” and might be the recipient of a frack hit, I suppose we can just keep our fingers crossed.

“An employee with the Town of Calmar says it is common practice to build parks and roads on top of well sites, but not homes. And since many Calmar residents recently discovered their properties are sitting on top of an old gas well, the calls haven’t stopped coming in.”


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