Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Letter to the Alberta Energy Regulator

Mrs. Marianne Cole, President,
Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association
RR #1, Rocky Mtn. House, AB T4T 2A1
June 10, 2019

Mr. Gordon Lambert,
President and CEO Alberta Energy Regulator
Suite 1000, 250 – 5th St. SW
Calgary, AB T2P 0R4

Dear Mr. Lambert:
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association and concerned residents of our area with regards to two issues:

· The operation and control of the Alberta Energy Regulator AND
· Fracking in the oil industry

1. Operation of the Alberta Energy Regulator   We understand the need for a regulatory body to oversee the operation of the oil industry in Alberta but we are very concerned about the make-up of the Board and Directors of the AER. With significant representation from former industry personnel we question if there is adequate, unbiased evaluation of industry operations or is it a matter of “the fox looking after the chicken coop.” We are concerned, that with the weighted membership of oil industry personnel, the interests of rural Albertans may not be adequately considered.

Certainly there is a need for qualified opinion but we also feel that there is a distinct need for representation from rural communities, the people that are potentially seriously affected by oil industry operations in their area and see “the other side of the story.” These people deserve to have input into matters affecting their quality of life and we suggest that there be an open application procedure for representatives on the AER Board with a required, equal number of representatives from various areas of Alberta.

2. Fracking  Again, we understand the benefit of fracking but we are also very concerned about its potentially negative impact from possible earthquakes and the significant use of fresh water. We definitely feel that the AER has to re-evaluate their licensing protocols and procedures as we feel there is not the degree of supervision/control necessary to ensure the well-being of all Albertans. As such we are proposing:

· The development of stringent protocol and procedures for compensation to residents who may have water wells or property damage due to fracking and/or earthquakes. The procedure guidelines must stipulate the responsibilities of the oil industry company involved with a definite
outline of compensation to be paid. The guidelines must be easily understood, readily available, and allow for efficient/sufficient compensation to the affected parties.

· The AER initiate extensive research on the alternatives to the use of fresh water for fracking and then work to enforcing those alternatives. Withdrawing billions of liters of fresh water from our resources for each fracking operation is not sustainable. Recently the Mayor of Calgary expressed concern over the potential inadequate water supply for his city.

Also there needs to be greater supervision by the AER over the approval of temporary diversion licensing. We are very concerned that there is not enough evaluation of the potential impact on the water source before licenses are approved. With the numerous applications that the AER receives on a daily basis we question how extensive an evaluation is done before approval is granted. As mentioned before, the withdrawal of billions and billions of liters of water from our environment is NOT sustainable. There are alternatives to fresh water use for fracking but there IS NOT an alternative to water for sustaining life. We sincerely encourage the AER to do research into, and then subsequently promote/require, alternatives to fresh water use.

In conclusion we reiterate our requests that you address concerns with the operation of the AER as well as the issues related to fracking. We trust that you might be equally concerned about the well-being of all Albertans and our environment, and therefore work towards addressing these concerns.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,

Marianne Cole

Cc: Honorable Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy
Mrs. Sheila O’Brien, Chairman of the Board, Alberta Energy Regulator

Friday, June 7, 2019


Potential Zero 0% Tax Increase
 At their regular council meeting on Tuesday, May 14th, Council first of all defeated a motion for a 1% tax hike on municipal taxes. There was significant discussion in light of the fact that, while it is still unknown, there is a potential for a large hike in the education tax, a matter out of Council’s control. Notable comments reported in the May 22nd Mountaineer included Councillor Lougheed’s where he said, “We don’t have control over the province’s numbers but we can cushion the blow.” On a similar note Councillor Laird said, “We have the Tax Stabilization fund. I consider that to be a rainy day fund and I would say this is the rainy day. I support zero per cent at this point after much thought.” Following defeat of the 1% tax hike motion, Councillor Swanson made a motion for a 0% tax increase which passed first reading. We await the results of 2nd and 3rd reading.

Concerns with truck inspections
A phone call was recently received regarding the CPO’s safety inspections on local heavy industry trucks. According to the caller, following word that there would be impending safety checks by the County’s CPO’s, the local operator decided to have his trucks all safety inspected. This was done during break-up when business was slower to ensure that all would be in order and to save future loss of driver/operating time when business ramped up. Subsequently, however, at a meeting with local operators, it was noted by the CPO’s that they would not be honoring other safety inspections but would still do their own. This is a source of frustration for local operators as it means extra time could be lost when their trucks are held up unnecessarily for time consuming inspections when they have proven, valid safety stickers---an additional cost they have already incurred.

Ground breaking activities visible
Ground work for the new Public Works/Fire Hall building at Condor has started and is visible north of Highway 11. It will be exciting to watch the progress as it proceeds.

Friends of the Corridor Schools
The dedicated group of young moms and community members continues to meet and discuss fund raising for the potential new school/improvements at Leslieville and Condor. Plans for a major kick off on June 18th have been postponed until the fall when more definite plans/announcements will, hopefully, be coming from the province. Please check out their website at

A very special bouquet of roses goes out this month to each one of our councillors for their consideration of the current local economic situation in proposing a 0% municipal tax increase. Your insightful discussion, comments, and decision are, I’m sure, welcomed and appreciated by everyone.

Coming Events: June 11, 2019, 7:30PM Arbutus Community Hall, Regular monthly meeting September 17, 2019, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, Regular monthly meeting

Coming Events:
 June 11, 2019, 7:30PM Arbutus Community Hall, Regular monthly meeting 
 September 17, 2019, 7:30PM, Arbutus Community Hall, Regular monthly meeting