Oilpatch impacts concern mayor of Alberta town
The mayor of an Alberta town in an area of heavy hydraulic fracking is expressing concern over the oil industry’s impact after yet another earthquake hit his community.
“Fox Creek town council is very concerned,” Jim Ahn wrote in a letter to reporters Wednesday. “It seems industry and the provincial government have been turning a blind eye as to what has been going on in our area.”
Fox Creek, a resource town that relies on oil, gas and forestry for its jobs, was hit Tuesday by a quake that measured 4.8 on the Richter scale — big enough to rumble buildings and shake pictures on the wall and count as the strongest ever recorded in Alberta.
It was the town’s 367th seismic event since January 2015.
The Alberta Energy Regulator hasn’t definitively linked the activity to the amount of fracking in the area, but it has implemented special regulations and is conducting research.
Earthquakes aren’t the only thing Ahn is concerned about.
“We have industry pulling water from our rivers, streams and lakes at rates we feel far exceed their capabilities to replenish themselves,” he wrote. “We do not want to be left with swamps that were once prize trophy lakes.”
Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci announces at the legislature in Edmonton Wednesday the province is freezing the salaries of 7,000 managers and other non-union employees for two years as it deals with nose-diving oil and gas prices that have siphoned billions of dollars from government coffers.