Oil and gas development in Southern Alberta

This morning I saw an interesting tweet from the Southern Alberta Technology Council:

tweet

Apparently the City of Lethbridge has been approached by an oil and gas company that wants to drill three wells in West Lethbridge, to frack an oil-bearing geologic formation in the region. Yes, the same West Lethbridge that’s seeing phenomenal (unsustainable?) housing development and expansion of services.

The City has responded by sending a letter of objection to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), previously the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). While there are some serious issues around the AER, the City has to start somewhere.

The good news is that City Council is on record as being against oil and gas development within city limits, citing a range of safety, evacuation, and other measures that would need to be dealt with at considerable cost to taxpayers.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Update: One other thing that occurs to me is where the water will come from for these operations. The Oldman River Basin has been closed to new water licenses since 2006, so I wonder if there’s another water license sale/transfer in the works…

Edit 14 Sep: Another gem from Twitter this morning – the official Lethbridge City Council resolution against oil & gas development within city limits (from 2012). Also an Edmonton Journal article via Alison Borealis, with the following important quote:

Unbeknownst to landowners, the province retains the ability to overrule municipalities on decisions involving mineral rights.

Edit 16 Sep: Lethbridge City Council has released a statement clarifying the current situation – and their position – re: drilling within city limits.

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3 thoughts on “Oil and gas development in Southern Alberta

    • The doc indicates the wells would be within city limits on the west side. So still within City jurisdiction. Though does look like they have plans outside the city as well, on County land. That might not be so great – is the County well-organized enough to deal with these types of issues or would they just be overrun?

  1. Golden Key is, I think, the in-city company, but I can’t find anything on them. And I doubt very much the County is well enough organized. While I don’t know much about fracking, I do know enough that consequences will be felt for miles (and we share water resources), so this should really be tackled on the regional level and with a united voice. Pinches self. I’m obviously dreaming.

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