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.