Why Quebeckers are sight-seeing in Alberta’s (gas) fields

Why Quebeckers are sight-seeing in Alberta’s (gas) fields by Carrie Tait, July 17, 2012, The Globe and Mail
Chantal Beauregard Favreau, the mayor of Béthanie, Que., takes notes in a brown book as she stands beside a lush yellow canola field near Rosemary, a village in southern Alberta. The field is irrigated and she, along with other visitors from Quebec, are quizzing Rosemary’s farmers and ranchers about the quality of the water. Is it, they want to know, ever contaminated because of natural gas activity? … “There are worries in our communities about the protection of our water, our land,” she says, after a stop at Rommenbutte Holsteins, a dairy operation that belongs to one of the group’s ranching escorts. The Rosemary area is not the best showcase for the safety of fracking practices, since it largely hosts older, conventionally drilled wells. … On Wednesday, the group meets with quasi-government organizations including the Energy Resources Conservation Board. Ms. Favreau said she has “never really heard any horror stories” about Alberta’s natural gas industry, but wondered if it was because there was nothing to hear or that problems are being concealed. Water is her focus. “If it is a concern, if there are any problems; and when there is an incident, how it is taken care of by the companies, by the farmers themselves, by the insurance companies or the governments?” Ms. Favreau asked. … The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the major oil and gas lobby group, also helped over the cost of the trip.

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