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

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