Monday, October 20, 2008

Kilometre setback for sour gas wells urged

VANCOUVER — The day before the second blast in a week rattled a sour gas pipeline near Dawson Creek, a Vancouver-based environmental group wrote to provincial Energy Minister Richard Neufeld to complain about government foot-dragging in relation to setbacks – regulations that dictate how close wells can be to homes, schools and other public places.

Setbacks have been “a key area of concern among a broad array of stakeholders in Northeast B.C. for several years now,” the Oct. 15 letter from West Coast Environmental Law says.

“Despite this, and despite the fact that government has repeatedly committed to taking action, nothing has been done that we are aware of to address this issue through changes to the regulatory regime.”

The letter makes several recommendations, including an interim one-kilometre setback for all new oil and gas wells. Current regulations allow sour gas wells to be as close as 100 metres to homes in rural areas.

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