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City Council Repeats Stance on Oil and Gas Drilling

 
 

LETHBRIDGE - City Council is underscoring its position on oil and gas drilling within the city.

On Monday, Council issued the following statement:

 

"The present situation is that an oil exploration company has secured mineral rights from Alberta Energy in an undeveloped area of southwest Lethbridge. The company has not yet received provincial approval to undertake drilling, but it is now signalling to us that it is taking the required steps to obtain that approval from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), formerly the ERCB.

 

City Council has made its position clear on this issue through a formal resolution we unanimously approved on Nov. 13, 2012, which stated our opposition to oil and gas drilling and production within city limits. We believe now, as we did then, that such activity would effectively sterilize developable urban land and burden the City with additional costs by creating the need for setbacks to separate wells and underground pipelines from future neighbourhoods.

 

We understand that this company has begun to communicate with groups in and around our community and is planning an open house for the public in early October. So, this is an appropriate time for us as City Council to let our residents know how the City of Lethbridge has been representing their interests in this situation. At every opportunity, the City has notified the provincial regulator and company representatives that we are opposed to any new oil and gas drilling within city limits for the reasons already mentioned.

 

Although Council has taken this formal, public stance, we recognize that, as a municipality, we have no legal authority to stand in the way if the Alberta Energy Regulator ultimately grants approval to this or any other company to drill within our city limits.

 

The AER has the ability to hold a public hearing on drilling applications, but it is not required to do so. Even so, there is no guarantee the City of Lethbridge would be granted the right to address such a hearing, if one was held.

 

As a Council, we emphasize that we are not opposed to oil and gas exploration, generally. Our specific concern is about the negative impacts for urban municipalities and their residents if oil and gas drilling is allowed to proceed inside their boundaries.

 

Council originally took this stance on urban drilling because we see it as an ongoing issue in Alberta. There are already other cases elsewhere in the province where drilling rights have been sought and awarded within urban boundaries."



Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 4/18/2014 2:35:30 PM
Source: City Council Statement
 
 
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