Urban Drilling In Alberta Should Be Banned: NDP

CP  |  By The Canadian Press Posted: 02/06/2014 11:22 pm EST  |  Updated: 02/07/2014 6:59 pm EST

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The Alberta New Democrats are calling on the provincial government to ban all drilling in urban areas.

NDP Leader Brian Mason spoke with Lethbridge media Thursday just two kilometres from where GoldenKey Oil wants to drill three exploratory wells.

Mason said the Tory government is dragging its feet when it comes to addressing the issue.

He also wants the Conservatives to undertake an independent, scientific review of fracking, its impact on water quality, air quality and community safety.

In addition, the NDP is calling for the government to implement independent pre-fracking groundwater monitoring and a scientific assessment of river inflow needs before water allocation decisions are made.

Energy Minister Diana McQueen said Mason’s comments show the NDP’s “complete lack of knowledge about how oil and gas development is regulated in the province.”

McQueen said the Alberta Energy Regulator independently evaluates all applications, urban or rural, to ensure safe and responsible development.

GoldenKey Oil has secured mineral rights from Alberta Energy in an undeveloped area of southwest Lethbridge and will be seeking permission from the Alberta Energy Regulator to drill three oil wells on privately owned land within city limits.

The proposed wells are classified as sour wells, as they would be drilled through a sour geological formation, but would produce from a non-sour zone.