LETHBRIDGE: Alberta's minister for sustainable resource development addressed concerns over a stalled sour gas well in the Castle Wilderness area Wednesday.
Visiting the city for a formal talk with the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, Mel Knight addressed reporters after the meeting. But he admitted his knowledge on the issue is limited.
"What I've been informed of, yesterday actually, was that there are some rare plants in this particular site where they're talking about drilling," he told Country 95 News.
A ministry spokesperson says they've known about the presence of rare plant species in that area since the project's early stages. Dave Ealey said his group was aware the plants may be found in the area at the time they approved the project March 9. He adds that it was only recently, however, they discovered the plants were definitely part of that site.
Ealey says the province did not order an Environmental Impact Assessment before putting its stamp on the Shell drilling project. But his ministry did require the company produce an environmental "field study," which must be completed by certified professionals, but doesn't have to be independent.
Meanwhile, Knight says he'll continue to suspend construction until Shell can prove the work won't impact the species in question.
"We're working with Shell now, and what we've asked them to do is just to hold their operations in abeyance until we look at exactly what the problem is and until we find a way to mitigate the problem."