July 23rd, 2019

What happened to promise of ending urban drilling?

By Letter to the Editor on February 9, 2019.

It has been discovered by citizens of Lethbridge that an oil company, Tamarack Acquisition Corporation, is drilling and fracking in west Lethbridge. After an extensive campaign by citizens of Lethbridge to oppose oil drilling in the city limits in the past, it was quite shocking to discover the province and an oil company conspired to start drilling in secret within the city.

This was in spite of the fact that the current NDP government was elected, in part, on a promise to end urban drilling. That promise fell by the wayside, with follow-up questions always drawing a response such as “maybe later.” However, the ease with which full-bore drilling and fracking can be undertaken has demonstrated a change, to the exact opposite end of the spectrum. This is made worse by the fact the offending well is in the environment minister’s home riding.

No Drilling Lethbridge, a local movement, was concerned for the safety of citizens and for the possible health effects on air and water, if drilling was allowed in the same place as residences and schools. The water table in west Lethbridge, partly a plateau-like area within a meander of the Oldman River, could be especially sensitive to corruption by the introduction of fracking fluids.

The Alberta Energy Regulator approved this licence, for a production well within the City of Lethbridge, without consulting the stakeholders involved. The citizens living around the site have no idea of the scope or dangers of the project, because the oil company and the provincial regulator conspired to keep the details of this project secret. At least, the lack of consultation could be seen as a conspiracy, if it was deliberate. Perhaps it is merely incompetent.

The question to government, now that this project has been discovered, is how will you respond to the citizens of Lethbridge? Because make no mistake, you will be hearing from a large crowd of concerned citizens demanding answers to their questions.

Tom Moffatt


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30 Responses to “What happened to promise of ending urban drilling?”

  1. meisplayfull2 says:

    Most people are now looking forward and asking how we should stop this from happening again. But come on people, our mayor and MLA has had pretty of time to do their job since it first started a few years back so this should not even an issue now. I look at our mayor MLA environment minister as planners for the future and they have failed the people of Lethbridge completely. Toast to the nodrilling group and big roast to Spearman and Phillips

  2. John P Nightingale says:

    Agreed and I also toast the anti drilling group.
    Before trashing our MLA however , I would like to know exactly how the approval process proceeded and in fact would ask if this drilling has even been sanctioned. If so, who approved it? Did council and our mayor know of and approve ?
    Someone’s name must be on the approval certificate. That to me is key .
    We need to know who.

  3. meisplayfull2 says:

    Just saying, the drilling problem started about 5 years ago and Phillips and Spearman had the best chance to influence the outcome but did nothing but act surprised. They could have checked into permits , approvals, and process, and campaigned and been proactive for the last 4-5 years. It would then be irrelevant whose name is on the approval document as that document would not even exist if one or both were the leaders that they should be.

  4. Laugh of the year. All that talk of draconian consequences 6 years ago, and when it happens no one notices.

  5. biff says:

    great letter – and i admire the restraint therein. i am far more angry than is expressed in the tone of tm’s writing.
    fracking is a filthy, nasty, poisonous, ruinous practice. i cannot think of any spaces where that approach is acceptable, let alone in communities.
    what does strike me as curious, however, is how there is so little issue otherwise taken with fracking…unless it is in one’s backyard. is it really ok to poison and destroy “other” environments?

  6. lonestar says:

    Related news: It should come as no surprise to anyone here wondering “WHAT HAPPENED” with Tamarack Energy drilling on the banks of our critical water supply, that China (The country Prime Minister Trudeau said a few years ago “he most admires”) is home to General Motors (70%) after Billions of our money saved them.

    Although perhaps hard to back figure for some there is a distinct co-relation to what is going on in the secret ADMINSTATIVE OFFICES IN DOWNTOWN LETHBRDIGE BELIEVE IT! The mayor ‘s bafflement, councils bafflement, and even the environment ladies bafflement is real because they actually haven’t any grasp of the larger picture – nothing! Isn’t that apparent. Doubters recheck the picture in the Feb 5th Herald.

    Add educating yourselves about China buying up Africa and the formerly great USA and Canada at a rate nobody can keep track of, and if they can it is not being reported, which is likely!

    All this while the sheep are distracted by phoney con-men/women, polluting minds with junk science, gay parades, and blocked pipelines plus a committee generated plethora of other obscuring tidbits easily digested by the masses with their debt riddled heads glued to their I-pads.

  7. John P Nightingale says:

    Mind pollution with “junk science and gay parades”. Sums up LS pretty well!

  8. phlushie says:

    One of the salient points not brought forward with this debate is the fact the drilling took place on private land at an existing well sight just outside of the city limits. So in that case it is a legitimate well with proper approvals, so we are tilting at windmills.

  9. lonestar says:

    You are correct phlushie and on that point we place the responsibility directly on the government of the day, who should have seen to it that resource extraction could not happen anywhere near a water
    resource especially one as important as the Oldman River is to southern Alberta.

    We have protests on the west coast stalling a pipeline that may, but hasn’t, hurt the water resource there, so why is the NDP government sitting on its hands in Lethbridge, especially in light of the fact they were so vocal about these things when in opposition?

    Why is Shannon Phillips the Environment Minister no less, so comatose on this, when a potential calamity is on her doorstep. We believe there’ll be a major shift in this ministers priorities, and duties in a few short months

  10. biff says:

    fracking is an abomination – it should be outlawed throughout the land. only idiots would think it is ok to ruin the water and land.

  11. Resolute says:

    Does anyone here know what specifically was done by Tamarack? Was it a new well drilled? Or a re-entry? Was there a completion operation as well? If so did it involve a hydraulic frac job? Water or invert? Anybody know anything? Or are you all blowing smoke? Alberta has THE most conservative environmental regulations in the world. Can anyone say that any of these regulations were compromised? Not that I have heard. So it is a legal activity under the most rigorous guidelines on the planet. Energy has made Alberta a have province, and drilling and completing a well is a key part of our energy industry. Why are you all crying out against a legal, massively beneficial activity performed by a reputable private Canadian company employing our fellow citizens and benefitting our Country? Are you all puppets of the radical left? Are you all intentionally trying to hurt Canada and Canadians? I wonder, and you should too. And stop using bydrocarbons and their byproducts! Do any of you know anything about the O&G industry or what would happen if your shrill cries are heeded? Enjoy an unheated -40C future. You won’t last a week.

  12. Seth Anthony says:

    Good luck getting it through their ideological minds Resolute. For example, biff wrote, “Notley is all for the pipelines, as are most thick Albertans”.

    I replied:

    Most “thick” Albertans are just trying to survive like everyone else. We all need fossil fuel energy to survive. Without it, we would freeze and/or starve to death. Fossil fuel energy isn’t an option Biff, it’s a necessity for our lives. With that said, pipelines are the safest way to transport fossil fuels.

    Like I wrote in a different letter to the editor:

    RE: Rachel Notley
    She now concedes that fossil fuel energy is a necessity for our survival. She now concedes that we can’t survive on ideological NDP pixie dust. It’s fascinating because it goes against her own party.

  13. lonestar says:

    Resolute. can you answer just one question for the “puppets”?

    Within those “rigorous guidelines” and “most conservative environmental regulations on the planet” can you inform us how many of those fine play within the rules folks like Tamarack (not necessarily Tamarack – BUT like Tamarack) have left the residents of Alberta with massive expenses cleaning up their abandoned wells and related messes.

    And oh!, Supplemental! Have you asked the lady from Rosebud Alberta who fought a vile oil creature all the way to the Supreme court (and lost to big money) how she’s enjoying the rest of her life hauling water to her farm because one of those fine oil boys (EnCana) left her broke, her farm unsaleable and her water contaminated, worthless & totally unusable?

    There’s more questions, Resolute, none of them have anything to do with us understanding very well how essential petroleum is to near everyone in the civilized world. We get that!

    What we don’t get is how the Resolutes among us ignore the damage left behind, the people, the land, the water…………….

  14. biff says:

    well said, ls. the issue is we know we are destroying the planet we depend upon to live, and oil/gas/mining are primary issues.
    res – we have the most conservative energy laws?! then god help this planet, because we have a wicked mess here that will remain a horrible legacy for a very long time. how are you missing that we cannot stay on the path we have been on for too long?
    seth – i get we need oil and gas, and we will need to wean from it. my statement was about pipelines, which you failed to acknowledge.
    pipelines: they are dirty, and are more destruction than they are useful. and, they are now too late. alberta oil is not really needed anywhere – except canada. more than enough oil is being mined in europe, middle east and asia. where is alberta oil needed? heck, it will be needed even less year over year. meanwhile, the usa is the world’s biggest producer right now. why? because the reserves they held onto for security/rainy day purposes is now seen as: let us use it now while we can make money off of it, because oil is on the way out. renewable energy is the new market. and renewable energy does not need pipelines. my greater point is that, until we can overcome fossil fuel dependency altogether, we need leadership that gets us to use less fossil based energy. in other words, we need to focus more on needs, and far less on wants. the great majority of our energy use is based on wants, not needs. we need to get a grip on the reality we have created, and fast.

    • Fescue says:

      I think your point, biff, that we can make substantial gains by focusing on needs over wants is important. This will require leadership, as you say, and a general willingness to shed some selfishness.

      Achieving lower emissions (as well as reducing poverty and protecting health) through business as usual complacency, as our wise friends seem to suggest, is to invite great hardship for our future generations.

  15. Seth Anthony says:

    @ Biff

    NO ONE is denying that we should be reducing pollution in general.

    The real question is how to do it. Now if you were well versed in energy sources, you would know that the current approach that governments are taking actually increase pollution, deaths, and poverty. Their approach can be described as something even more profound than “idiotic”.

  16. Seth Anthony says:

    @ Biff and Fescue in regards to the people’s “selfishness”, and how we need to change.

    Please learn the following:
    [bəˈnäl, bəˈnal]

    so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.

    You two speak as if the average worker lives in 40 room mansion, has numerous hummers, and 2 private jets. What do propose the people do? Live in a hut and use cow s–t for cooking and heating? I’m serious, please lay out your proposal, then tell me how that’s going to have any relevant positive effect.

    Further to that, read my previously reply S-L-O-W-L-Y. Before doing so, take off your mindless ideological glasses. Perhaps then, you might have intelligent comments in regards to pollution, human health, corporate / governmental corruption.

    Start educating yourselves:




    • Fescue says:

      Considering that Albertans are amongst the highest emitters in the world, even compared to populations with a similar climate, I think there is some excess we can cut before we begin chasing livestock around for the fuel they excrete. If you were to look, you might find things in between the extremes.

  17. Seth Anthony says:

    Albertans are among the highest emitters Fescue? That would mean people outside of Alberta in similar climates heat their homes with pixie dust and drive magical unicorn cars.

    Also, please define “similar”, and while you’re at it, post your source for such an idiotic statement. I can’t wait to rip it to shreds.

  18. biff says:

    seth – may i suggest some control, please? further to my entry regarding pipelines: you and all other pro-pipeliners fail to respond to my concern, which is – other than canada, who needs alberta/saskatchewan oil?
    with regard to your suggestion that comments from fes and myself are banal, and your awful use of hyperbole to discredit the point that we must use less: the simple truth is we spend more time, money and fossil-energy on wants than we do on needs. we are a consumer suckered society and are fixated/hooked on buying stuff, and too much of what is hardly essential. look around: homes are indeed oversized – if not 40 room mansions – but in case you missed the memo, while the size of families has shrunk considerably, the sq footage of homes has grown considerably; people drive trucks that are not needed for work, just for “fun” or for image; motor boats, atvs, off road motorcycles; sundry digital devices that are frequently junked and new ones bought; over packaging; over wardrobed; over applianced; we poison the land and water for “precious” metals and stones because they are shiny and “pretty” but hardly essential…. yes, we need heating, and we do not need to give up in home electric/gas and indoor plumbing – but, surely, we are junkies stuck on junk. to move away from this illness is not idealism, it is realism, and to stay on this path is a killer course.

  19. Seth Anthony says:


    You know the movie “Office Space”. Correct?

  20. phlushie says:

    Just a thought. We should switch power generation to CANDU reactors. Our financial input to them will definitely help out for the fine that SNC Lavalin will have to pay and if not should bolster the Liberal Financial Structure. May be both.

  21. Seth Anthony says:

    Once again, plushie tells it like it is.

  22. biff says:

    seth – i do not know “office space” …
    again i get no response from any pro-pipeliners to the question i have raised numerous times: who needs alberta/sakatchewan oil? (do the needs warrant pipelines?).
    (my understanding is the planet is producing more than enough less expensive and easier to access oil; oil dependency is/will be/will need to be decreasing…and the history of pipelines is well documented: eco-disasters.)

  23. wheatking5 says:

    Biff, I will answer. There are markets for it and you need the pipelines to continue to enjoy the standard of living you currently have in this country.

  24. […] Promises not kept: What it hasn’t done is phased in all-day kindergarten or ban gas drilling in urban areas, which was an issue recently raised in Lethbridge. […]