Edmonton - A Lethbridge group opposed to a proposal by a Calgary-based energy company to drill within municipal boundaries has delivered a box of petitions to Lethbridge West MLA Greg Weadick at the Alberta Legislature. The petition -- with over 11,000 signatures, representing over 12 percent of the city’s population -- calls on the Government of Alberta to introduce legislation that would prohibit oil and gas drilling development within the City of Lethbridge.
Weadick and No Drilling Lethbridge representative Sheila Rogers will hold a media availability about the petitions from 3:15 pm - 3:45 pm on the front steps of the Legislature building. Rogers will also be available throughout the day today for comment on the petition delivery.
“The provincial government has been promising a review of urban drilling for at least two years, and promised to have a new policy in place by the end of last year. But here we are in March and the government still has yet to deliver on its promise,” says Sheila Rogers of No Drilling Lethbridge. “With no clear policy in place, we and 11,000 of our fellow residents are calling on Minister McQueen to do the right thing and cancel Goldenkey Oil’s license.”
Goldenkey Oil has not yet applied to the Alberta Energy Regulator to drill, but their Petroleum and Natural Gas License issued by Alberta Energy for the mineral rights to 23 square kilometres under Lethbridge expires and is up for renewal on March 24. No Drilling Lethbridge supporters have been writing, phoning, emailing and tweeting the Minister of Energy Diana McQueen asking her to cancel Goldenkey Oil’s license. Under Section 8.1 of the Province of Alberta Mines and Minerals Act, the Minister of Energy may cancel an agreement where any exploration for or development of the mineral to which the agreement relates is not in the public interest.
Opposition to urban drilling in Lethbridge has soared since foreign owned Goldenkey Oil announced plans to drill three exploratory wells in the southwest part of Lethbridge last year. According to the Citizen Society Research Lab at Lethbridge College, “the vast majority of Lethbridge residents are opposed to oil and gas drilling within the city limits. Fully three-quarters of all Lethbridge residents (75.8%) are opposed, 61.1% are strongly opposed while a further 14.7% are somewhat opposed.” On the city’s west side, where Goldenkey Oil plans to drill, 81.6% of residents are opposed.
Not only have over 11,000 people signed the petition against urban drilling in Lethbridge, but also Lethbridge’s Mayor and City Council, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, the Lethbridge School District #51 Board of Trustees, the Holy Spirit Catholic School Board, and the Lethbridge and District Association of REALTORS* have all publicly expressed their opposition.