Oil­patch im­pacts con­cern mayor of Al­berta town

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.”

CP PHOTO

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.

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