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NEWS: Gasland director speaks at fracking conference in Lethbridge

On March 24, Josh Fox, the writer and director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, spoke at the Blood Tribe Conference on Fracking in Lethbridge.

Intercontinental Cry reports that, “Members of the Blood Tribe (notably Protect Blood Land, a grassroots effort led by concerned Blood members) have started calling for a moratorium on the controversial extraction process (of fracking) within their own reserve in southern Alberta.”

The Kainai Nation – called the Blood Tribe “by European traders for their use of red ochre” – is located west of Lethbridge and approximately 200 kilometres south of Calgary. The Council of Canadians Lethbridge chapter has been supportive of the effort by Blood Tribe members to stop fracking on Kainai Nation lands and on the Oldman River Watershed.

In terms of background, “In late 2010, Kainaiwa Resources Inc., a company that’s solely owned by the Blood Tribe, quietly signed off on a deal with the Calgary-based junior mining company Bowood Energy and the U.S. company Murphy Oil. …According to Protect Blood Land, no one from the reserve was consulted before (the agreement) was finalized. (In the deal), Bowood Energy and Murphy Oil gained a five-year ($50 million) lease to roughly 129,280 acres, almost half of the Blood’s reserve, for oil and gas exploration (and to) use hydro fracking on no fewer than 16 drill sites on the reserve.”

The Oldman Watershed is approximately 25,000 square kilometres in size. Lethbridge and several towns and hamlets, which draw their drinking water from this watershed, are home to approximately 200,000 people and there is concern about the impact of fracking on their water source.

Bonnie May

Bonnie May

The petition for Blood Tribe members and Oldman Watershed residents is at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42112.html. A second petition for “for anyone else that wishes to stand in solidarity with all Blood members opposed to fracking on their land” is at http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42138.html. The Lethbridge Herald has reported that, “Bonnie May of the Council of Canadians has been door-knocking with (this) petition aimed at Environment Minister Rob Renner (and others), and has met with a high level of support.”

On March 25, the day after the Blood Tribe Conference, Fox filmed “segments in southern Alberta which could end up in the Gasland sequel he’s working on.”