Council says it was made aware of the drilling taking place in southwest Lethbridge through resident emails and on social media over the past weekend.
City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday (Feb. 4) to immediately respond to an urban drilling site within city limits, upon learning of its operations.
The resolution outlines that the Mayor and City Manager will respond to Tamarack Acquisitions Corp. through the Alberta Energy Regulator to make their opposition and concerns known. Further to this, the Mayor and City Manager will also write to the Honourable Margaret Ellen McCauaig-Boyd, Alberta Minister of Energy, to advise her of Council’s position.
“At every opportunity, City Council has notified the provincial regulator and company representatives that we are opposed to any new oil and gas drilling within city limits,” said Mayor Chris Spearman. “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.”
Although Council has taken a formal public stance, as a municipality, they have no legal authority to stand in the way of the Alberta Energy Regulator which ultimately grants approval to drill within city limits.
City Council has emphasized that they are not opposed to oil and gas exploration, generally, and specific concerns are 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 they 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.