Why support Stelmach at all?

Dear Editor,

In regards to the opinion column “Property Rights May Be a Sleeper Issue” on Dec. 29/10:

In addition to the land-grabbing bills mentioned (19, 50, 36), all landowners should be aware of the latest grab, Bill 24 (The Carbon Capture bill).

This bill takes away the landowner’s right to all the pore space under his property. The so-called purpose of this bill is carbon capture, but in reality it is more about doing away with landowner claims to the land underneath the surface.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is about to issue directive 2010-39, which will allow a huge increase in the drilling area under your land. This will allow the oil and gas companies to drill horizontally and hydro-frac practically every foot of your land, while paying for only a small multi-well pad. In the Horn River basin in B.C., some companies are drilling up to twenty wells off one pad.

Because Bill 24 takes all the pore space beneath the surface, this means very shallow shale, sands and coalbed can be drilled horizontally, with hardly any compensation. The chances of contaminating the fresh water aquifers are very high.

Captured C02 under very high pressure will very likely find its way up through the strata and either contaminate the water aquifers or there could be a more dramatic release through faults or leaking wells like the one in the school yard at Calmar, Alberta. It is especially disturbing that the Alberta government has a very poor record of knowing just where the baseline ground water is located, as shown by the recent leak of saline water and H2S in the Shell tarsands pit at Fort McMurray.

David Shindler (U of A), a renowned water expert, has castigated the government on not having a clue about what they are doing in regards to the water aquifers.

Not only is the Carbon Capture Bill a theft of property rights and a potential disaster for the environment, but it is also a huge cost for the Alberta taxpayer. $2.4 billion, to start, of our money to clean up a mess that the multi-national energy companies have created?

This present government has taken our property rights, will put our water in peril, has put a huge cost on our backs and has no regard for our health and safety. Why would any rural resident support them?

Doug Malsbury

Penhold, AB