Wednesday, February 2

Brief update on activities and issues especially with respect to my concerns about facing for oil and gas

Of recent issues arising the most urgent has got to be fracing for oil and gas. To learn more I've attended a couple of community awareness sessions, read-up on it and have come to the conclusion that everyone should be doing the same and asking questions because of the apparent possible ramification. Consequently, I've written a letter to the Herald on my concerns which also reflects those of many people including especially some of our Aborignal people who will be more directly affected. The letter is as follows:

Concerns about ‘Fracing for Oil and Gas’; is our health and survival at risk?

Last fall I heard of the Blood Reserve and Murphy Oil agreement that would allow the company to use the relatively new technology called hydrolic fracing. My curiosity was raised; I wanted to know what it meant. Fracing uses high pressure injections of water, sand and a variety of chemicals to break up geology formations holding oil and natural gas. The fractured rock yields much greater quantities of natural gas or oil. Large quantities of water and sand are need for this process. Some of the chemicals and the amount of water used concern me. I’m concerned for the outcome, everyone and want the best for all especially our Aboriginal people.

Then I heard of the documentary 'Gasland' and attended encore showing at Lethbridge College which afforded me opportunity to link-up with band members and other friends that were equally concerned. Since hearing of the deal they have been seeking information and answers to very legitimate concerns. The deal may result in several hundred wells. To date, there have been too few answers provided to some very critical and basic questions i.e. will it affect our health and that of animals, vegetation, water and food; have impact studies and risk assessments been done; what are potential risks; what if any precautions need to be taken; where will water used and waste contaminants be stored; what are the long-term consequences etc?

Everyone should be asking similar questions, in addition to becoming more informed on the issue, the procedure and the short and long-term effects, of which too little is known. A recent issue of Oilweek magazine describes it and ‘Gasland' outlines huge concerns across the US from New York State to Arizona about fracing. A moratorium has been called in New York and Quebec and most recently Pensylvania has requested one. Should we be concerned? I strongly urge you to watch 'Gasland'. It can be found by googling 'Gasland' on the web or the public library may have it. Ask the questions. Pass your concerns to City Council and the Alberta Government. Medicine Hat which is down-river and depends on the Oldman River for water supply... they should be taking the same actions. This is not isolated. Our health, lives and even survival may be at stake. Be concerned. I am.

Michael Cormican

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