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Urban Drilling Questions

The following questions were submitted to the City prior to the February 24th Community Issues Committee Meeting.


​1 Shale oil is now classified as more dangerous than traditional oil thus requiring specialized containers. Standard liquid trucks are not safe for this product. Do you see this as a valid concern that should be remedied before proceeding? Related to University Drive a Dangerous route for these goods?
2​ What is the date of the latest study by Alberta on long term health effects of flaring and hydrogen sulphite leakage. What were the conclusions? If inconclusive, when were the follow ups? Same question regarding fracking liquids in drinking water. Same question on radioactive tailings and basement radon leakage?​
3​ Q. For AER. You claim no liability for fracking groundwater contamination. No duty of care is your wording. Do you claim duty of care for us? For crops? For our River?​
4​ Are there not places left to drill in Alberta other than Urban Centres? It seems a risky practice that will allow zero errors.​
5​ As I understand it, these will be oil wells with gas in solution. What are the prospects for dangers of flaring, bad smells and other kinds of air pollution as compared to natural gas wells? If there are potential for these things, what safe guards will be put in place to prevent and mitigate them?​
6​ We know about the potential risks and dangers for horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing. How does this compare to the type of drilling and fracturing that will be done in Lethbridge? Should we have the same kind of concerns about groundwater protection and earthquakes? Why or why not?​
7​ How much traffic of machinery, heavy trucks, and tankers should we expect to get as the result of the operations? Will they be carrying anything toxic? Will it all be along the Dangerous Goods routes? If not, where else?​
8​ Is the City Council inclined to have the city provide the water for these operations? Where will the water come from if the city does not provide it? What will be done with the wastewater afterwards?​
9​ What happens in the event of an emergency? A pipeline leak? A spill? Will there be any potential for necessary evacuations of homes and businesses?​
10​ Are Mineral Right plots still for sale in Lethbridge? Which plots? Have mineral rights been sold to Goldenkey and others that we don't yet know about? Will County lot mineral rights along the Oldman River be up for sale?​
11​ After fracking, does the land above the fractures heave or sink short term? Long term, as the water and liquids migrate and recede, is there any subsidence at surface level?​
12​ Who is responsible for assessing property damage coincident with fracking? What is procedure for remuneration? In the past, has insurance covered damage from fracking in Canada or the U.S?​
13​ What is the experience of our Fire Department with well explosions or oil truck fires or fracking fluid releases? Is there an available containment system in place in case liquids accidentally spill into river?​
14​ In case of a sour gas leak at night, during a windy blizzard, describe how sheltering in place is an effective survival strategy​
15​ University Drive is unsuitable as a Dangerous Goods Route for explosive shale oil. Is this the best that City Planners can do?​
16​ Describe the effect of sulphur dioxide exposure in large concentrations. Would the gas pool in valleys?​
17​ The energy Minister mentioned existing, fracked oil wells. Where are the current active oil wells in Lethbridge located? When were they drilled? What routes do the oil trucks take?​
18​ For AHS rep. How do cancer distributions and rates in Alberta compare to other provinces?​
19​ Question for AER repr.: How many Urban Drilling licenses have been passed in total? How many Urban Drilling licences have been rejected?​
20​ For AER Repr. Does AER have jurisdiction over: water quality, air quality, land contamination Radon gas amounts in houses? If so, for any of these, has AER a database of benchmarks for each to compare with data after drilling?​
23​ Are the members of this panel prepared to put their professional careers on the line, & sign a document, swearing that our water in Alberta will not be compromised if GOLDENKEY /AER/PREMIER/MLA'S/CITY COUNCIL/COUNTY COUNSELLORS permit FRACKING? IN OTHER WORDS WILL YOU ALL RESIGN IF SEAPAGE INTO OUR UNDERGROUND & GROUND LEVEL WATER IS DAMAGED? AND WILL YOU ALL OFFER TO PAY US TO MITIGATE THOSE DAMAGES?​
24​ Please have someone on the panel explain how a appointed Body like the AER, which wholly funded by the energy sector, is allowed to approve or disapprove drilling licenses on privately owned property, and why no one has challenged them on constitutional grounds.​
25​ Little consideration has been given to the mining origins of our community in relationship to present urban buildings and proposed urban drilling and fracking. Many of our neighbourhoods proximate to the river valley are constructed above old mine shafts. In the downtown core these buildings include businesses, municipal buildings and condo residences. If the underground vibration involved in fracking causes any of those old shafts to collapse, how much settling and damage to buildings on the surface would result? Who would bear the cost of such damage?​
26​ Why does the city not rezone the land in question to residential with a no exploration clause built into it ​
27​ What are the Alberta Energy Regulator criteria for calling a hearing?​
28​ When considering if a sour gas well should be considered critical, the AER takes into account the distance of the well from an urban centre or public facility. How many critical sour gas wells are there near to public facilities and urban centres in Alberta? ​
29​ To AER rep: We have heard repeatedly that fracking has been ongoing for over 70 years. That's a lot of water. That's must amount to a lake of toxic, radioactive fluids. Are all fracking fluid disposal sites near towns like Pincher Creek? How many are there in AB? During those 70 years, have these sites been monitored for leaks, leaching or breaks in containment walls? Are fracking liquids still land dispersed? Is there farming being carried out on this land?​
30​ For AER rep: Have you personally traversed the Lethbridge Dangerous Goods Routes? Have you visited the proposed drilling sites? Have you visited the other possible drilling sites near the Canyons?​​


For City Reps: Can Lethbridge legally deny water and electricity to Urban Drillers?​

For City Reps: Will the City require a Damage Deposit Bond from drillers to fix truck damage to our roads? Is our bi-law officer equipped to monitor noise, smoke, and dumping infractions 24/7?​

33​ For AER rep: The community of SunRidge has prided itself on being built as a Green community with solar panels, a series of runoff water purification lakes and thermal heating. Proposed well sites are very close to SunRidge. Is the Energy Industry that pays you prepared for the world-wide environmental negative publicity that will effect your bottom line? Is this a sound economic decision?​
34​ For AER rep: Does AER consider worst case scenario planning? Assuming the worst case will contamination of our river water impinge in any way on our agricultural irrigation system?​
35​ For City reps: Mineral Rights in Lethbridge were bought in 2011. Knowing that drilling could occur in this area, why did the City plan and build Curling and Skating Rinks and Leisure Centre in this area? Why is an elementary school planned there?​
36​ For City Reps: Mineral Rights for drilling were bought in 2011.c Did the city have any legal or moral obligation to ensure that new home buyers be made aware of the situation? A prospective Home Buyer must be made aware of any and all encroachments on the property before sale. Seeing them on the title after sale is not sufficient. Did lawyers for the buyer have a legal obligation to disclose the possibility of drilling under their property and drilling rigs in the near area? ​
37​ I am a home owner in SunRidge. I purchased my home and the lot that it sits on. How can a company own the mineral rights below my property? I paid for It and do not wish to have my land bothered.​
38​ The Honourable Diana McQueen, Minister of Energy, has announced urban drilling rules will be announced in weeks. What impact will this have on applications to drill within municipal boundaries submitted prior to rules coming into force? ​
39​ 1. What effect would the drilling have on our already fragile coulees? 2. We were told by Dr. Swann at a previous meeting that the Medical Examiner could put a stop to the drilling forthwith - if she ruled that it is a health hazard to the people. Is this true? If so, who is the Medical Examiner and how do we contact her?​
40​ While in RISK / BENEFIT analyses, in industrial enterprises, it is common to weigh the risk of an undertaking against the potential benefits: SURELY THIS RELATES TO THE SAME ENTITY! However, with the proposed drilling by Golden Key Oil Inc. in the western boundary of Lethbridge, the bulk of the RISK is conceivably to be borne by the residents of Lethbridge and surrounding areas; but the bulk of the BENEFITS are expected to accrue to Golden Key Oil Inc. Thus even the use of such concepts as ‘acceptable risk’ is a direct affront to our residents! Our RISK / Goldenkey’s BENEFIT! QUESTION to our Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vivien Suttorp: - HOW CAN Alberta Health Services, while deferring to the AER, concerning the legislation under which all oil and gas development is regulated; ENSURE that local residents’ health is NOT PLACED AT RISK BY THIS PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT? Hans-Henning Mündel (at Sunset Acres – close to the proposed drill sites) ​
41​ To Brenda Ponde: Over the past weeks I have learned that: 1) the AER is an unelected body, 2)the AER is 100% funded by industry, 3) The AER’s responsibilities and duties are defined in the Responsible Energy Development Act, and it contains no mention the “public interest”. With this in mind, I have two related questions: 1) When AER decides on drilling licences, is there any guarantee that their decisions will not be contrary to the broader public interest? 2) Who is the AER accountable to, how do you report to them and are these reports available to the public?​
42​ We understand there are a number of people in Alberta who have been adversely affected by drilling yet are legally forbidden from talking about their experience. How can any assessment of the risks of drilling be considered thorough, transparent or accurate when citizens have been coerced into signing non-disclosure agreements, effectively gagging them from telling their story to the public?​
43​ My question is very simple "who owns the resources of this province and if we the people do should we not have a say in where drilling takes place"?​
44​ For Bob Willard, AER -- The AER unilaterally issues drilling rights/licenses to industry anywhere in the province. Why does the AER not conduct stakeholder consultations prior to issuing industry drilling rights within city boundaries?​
45​ Within Alberta, what other cities have had drilling in their communities and what issues and benefits have they seen?​
46​ Question for the city: Why would you want them to bring the equipment down University drive when they could access this from Walsh down 30st and south to the two well pad, then they can build a temporary road across the field to the other location (this is done all the time in the Oil patch) Moving a drilling rig through the traffic circles would be extremely difficult and not necessary. ​
47​ What kind of slope stability studies does the AER require to insure that top layer of soil above the shale layer does not become unstable during the fracking process? Is there any requirement for baseline measurement of the aquifer before fracking begins? In the event of a major blowout or a grass fire, can the city guarantee the safety of its Westside citizens? Are we at risk for sour gas leaks?​
48​ Unfortunately I work late on Mondays, my question is: In recent days, Rex Tillerson (CEO of ExxonMobil) has filed a law suit in order to prevent the building of infrastructure that will be used in fracking near his ranch. His reasoning is that, fracking near his ranch will depreciate the value of his property; as well as create excessive noise and traffic in that area. How will the value of our proprieties (houses) will be affected? what levels of noise pollution will we experience and where? what kind of traffic increase will we experience? most importantly, in case of a successful exploration result, there will be more infrastructure built, so, how will the building of that new infrastructure affect the propriety value of our homes?​
49​ How is the urban drilling in Lethbridge going to impact my families health and safety living in Riverstone? We are raising a 2 year old and this is a major concern for us. Also what is the drilling going to do to our property value?​
50​ Bob Sandford, Chair of the United Nations International Decade "Water of life" initiative and author of the books "Water Weather and the Mountain West" & "Ethical Water" states "The Province of Alberta has run out of water in its Southern rivers' and "every river in Alberta from the Montana border to the Red Deer is fully, if not over-allocated". My Question. How does knowing this not align with decreasing further licensing of runaway oil exploration and extraction, in light of the millions of liters of water used and fowled in each drilling operation. Every piece of literature available on this indicates emphatically that this plunder must not and cannot continue. So why does it continue unabated? ​
51​ We are concerned about the level of power the AEB seems to have. What qualifications do the members have to have to be on the Board, how are they selected and who appoints them? What is the length of their term on the Board and how are they removed from the Board?​
52​ “Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a highly toxic gas and among the most common contaminants in crude oil and natural gas.” • How dangerous is H2S (long-term & short-term) exposure? • How can we feel our homes and schools are safe with this substance in our neighborhood? • What kind of monitoring will be done for this dangerous gas? • What good does monitoring do when little children exposed to unclean air caused by oil companies fracking close to schools, homes and green recreation areas have to suffer a lifetime of respiratory, immune ,and neurological conditions? • Do atmospheric conditions, especially wind direction and velocity, the proximity of the leak to the detectors, and obstructions affect detection efficiency? If so how can we feel safe here in Lethbridge with our frequently changing weather patterns and high velocity winds? We have been told there are many wells, including abandoned wells in Lethbridge. Where are the abandoned wells? Where are the unregistered coal mines? If gases can travel along perilous pathways; how can the AER even think about allowing drilling in areas in close proximity to houses which are built on top of coal mines? Is there another area in Canada or the USA which has 1800 miles of tunneling under its populated area and is being fracked currently? What are the health consequences of being exposed to chronic low levels of combined gases that are flared? We obviously must have a high level of methane under us if we have had mine explosions in the area in the past. How much H2S is produced underground by the oil companies themselves injecting the chemical cocktails which dissolve the rock? How many holes can the earth be pin cushioned with before H2S starts emitting itself on its own? Are you aware that in the past one of the greatest extinctions was caused by H2S? Can you guarantee that the deep injection wells in our province are not dissolving the rock beneath us only to cause more earthquakes under our feet? Where currently are the oil companies in Southern Alberta disposing fracking fluid? Are they dumping it on grazing land, agricultural land or roadways? What are the dangers of flaring? What chemicals are released along with the fracking compounds? With all of the fracking upstream on the Reserve who is testing our water for chemical cocktails? Are there currently reliable detectors for chemical contamination? How about the nano-particles and radioactivity? ​
53​ Below is a list of some questions to ask Dianna McQueen (or her representative): What is the ethical basis for allowing drilling in Lethbridge? How can you justify the potential risks to so many people for the potential benefit of so few? How do you expect people to trust a regulator that never says no to oil companies? Why won't the government buy back the mineral rights like they did in Fort McMurray? What is their reasoning for not doing so? Would you want your children and grandchildren going to a school near a drilling and fracking operation which is considered heavy industrial? What level of risk is acceptable for your children and grandchildren? How can we trust regulators after the recent terrible disasters? (Lake Side & Lac Megantic) Why should Lethbridge residents continue to pay taxes to a government that refuses to listen to them and their representatives? Who elects you? Who do you work for--the oil companies or the people of Alberta? Oil companies are not people. They are only composed of people. Who is the master and who is the servant here? If the Energy Minister has the power to stop this why pass the buck to the AER? Why waste time and money on something that is totally unnecessary and causes such grief when it can so easily be halted? Alison Redford said that the people of Lethbridge have to work with the oil companies and state their concerns to the AER. This is totally backwards. We do not want the oil and gas drilling here in our city period. Why should we have to work with the invaders? Why should we have to beg our government to protect us and do what is right? How is it possible that we live in a province where health care workers and other professionals are afraid to speak out against a government and an industry when just one or two generations ago so many Albertans had sacrificed their youth and their lives to fight such tyranny? Doctors should speak out against any threats to public health not just deal with the consequences after the fact. Why should the people of Lethbridge be the guinea pigs for the dangerous consequences of this industry? Dianna McQueen said there are currently 19 wells in Lethbridge. Do 19 wrongs make a right? This is not Drayton Valley where she comes from. This is Lethbridge, a city in Southern Alberta and we do not want drilling near us period. Are you aware of the winds in Lethbridge? Have you seen the photographs of the recent fires and dust storms? Do you think it is safe to have high explosives stored in the same area where we have had several recent wild fires? Have you seen a fire jump a river? We have witnessed piles of dust way over to North Lethbridge. Are you aware of the dangers of silica dust? Do you know that beneath Lethbridge there are 1800 miles of coal mining tunnels and Lethbridge was advised not to build higher than three story buildings because of the unstable ground? Are you aware that many mines in the area were unregistered? Have you heard of sink holes and methane migration? Are you aware that abandoned wells are particularly dangerous? How do you plan to evacuate 33 thousand people trapped in the bend of the river with two roads out? Are you aware that permanent lung damage would occur in children in the first five minutes? Where do you propose 33 thousand people go to get on their gas masks? Will you be providing these to every resident in your evacuation plan? Are you planning to have an extra supply for every child and teacher in the schools or should they carry them with them in their backpacks? Who will pay for all the duct tape? What should we do if there is a blizzard and a blowout at the same time? Blowouts don't happen very often, but neither do runaway trains. Can you absolutely guarantee our safety? Why should we take unnecessary risks? How do you expect the province of Alberta to be respected on the world stage when the Alberta government refuses to even listen to their own people? Are you aware of what Stalin did in Ukraine in the 1930's? Do you see any parallels with the way we are being treated in this community? Why should we have to beg for democracy in Canada? You spoke of "balance"; is there any balance in this situation? Is not all the power set up to favor the oil and gas companies? How do you expect ordinary citizens to navigate through mountains of red tape in order to preserve their health and their homes? How do you expect people to do all of this while working, raising a family, and trying to live normal lives? How can we possibly compete with slick lawyers, paid consultants, professional mediators, and highly trained engineers and geologists? How can you talk about fairness and balance when the entire process is stacked against ordinary people? Lethbridge is still the best place to live in Alberta, but will it be in a few years? ​
54​ Why do companies that use the fracking methods of extraction claim all the toxic ingredients they add to the water are "proprietary" in nature and they will not tell the residents of Lethbridge and what pollutants we are to deal with ultimately as they leach into our ground water?


Can we not quickly develop a land use permit for "altering existing land condition" and add a fee of say $10,000,000 pet year per 100 feet of depth, within city limits? Make it unaffordable. Is something like this possible?
Does the local medical officer of health have the authority to declare this whole process or specific aspects like risk of water contamination as against public health?
Do we know what mix of chemicals will be used in the fracking process?
How is the Alberta Energy Regulator not in the position of the hen guarding the hen house?
Where will any company who wants to do fracking get their water from because there no water licenses available in southern Alberta?