Many reasons to not allow drilling in Lethbridge

Many reasons to not allow drilling in city by Al Barnhill, President, Able Administration Ltd., December 28, 2013, The Lethbridge Herald

Dear Premier Redford:

This letter is being written to you in support of the city council of Lethbridge. On Nov. 13, 2012, council unanimously passed a motion opposing Goldenkey’s proposed oil well drilling/fracking/flaring within this city’s limits.

Reasons abound for not allowing such drilling within the residential areas of this city. Foremost is the harm done to people’s health. The enclosed article (“Big Oil, big problems?”, Dec. 5 Lethbridge Herald) attests to that reality. Nielle Hawkwood has suffered the loss of her hair, skin, eye and respiratory injury and adverse effects to her immune system. Do a few more oil wells justify such harm to people’s health?

As the enclosed article further illustrates, the assets of our citizens become depreciated by exposure to oil well drilling, fracking and flaring. Water is polluted, cattle die, barns are wrecked, properties are abandoned. A chain of economic adversities result from losses to property owners. Such losses have a negative effect on real estate markets. Lower property values result in lower assessments which lead to lower property taxes for the city. Do a few more oil wells justify such losses to people’s property and city coffers?

Some might argue that such exploration is economically beneficial. Alberta already has a dysfunctional economy; one that has grossly inflated wages and benefits in the oil patch, e.g., $97 an hour for plumbers, $110 an hour for welders. Meanwhile, a small business woman in Wetaskiwin went tens of thousands over her budget in an effort to establish a family restaurant. Overpriced and under-trained trades were the reasons for her debacle. These examples are part of the litany of adverse effects resulting from the inadequately regulated corporate exploitation of our limited resources, both human and mineral.

I urge you most earnestly to respect the will of our citizens. Deny Goldenkey the approval to drill, frack and/or flare within our city’s limits. Somewhere within the 661,000 square hectares of this province there must be better prospects for this Chinese-owned company to exploit.

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