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Poll suggests majority of Lethbridge is opposed to oil and gas drilling

LETHBRIDGE – The numbers are in, and the results are clear – people living in Lethbridge are strongly opposed to drilling inside city limits.

“The public sentiment that people think is out there, is there. It is that wide spread and it’s pretty intense,” says Faron Ellis with the Citizen Society Research Lab.

A new poll is casting light on opinions in various regions of the city, and not surprisingly, opposition to urban drilling is strongest in the west.

West Lethbridge shows the strongest opposition at just over 80 per cent, to the south its 75 per cent and to the north, nearly 67 per cent are opposed.

Overall 75 per cent of Lethbridge residents are against any future drilling, something political scientists say is significant.

“It’s one thing to get three quarters of the people opposed to an issue, but to get a majority that are strongly opposed is fairly intense,” adds Ellis.

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No Drilling Lethbridge has been campaigning across the city, voicing its concern about urban oil and gas wells.

Sheila Rogers is a volunteer with the opposed group, and she says the numbers come as no surprise.

“The groundswell of support on this has been just incredible. In just the last few months, we have over ten thousand signatures on our petition. We’ve had city council come forward, all of our local officials have come forward to show opposition,” says Rogers.

25 per cent of those polled are supportive of drilling, but aren’t strongly in favour.

“Some people are a little surprised that a quarter of the population are supportive, now within that there are very few that are strongly supportive,” adds Ellis.

The poll also suggests women are more opposed to the idea than men, with more than 10 per cent separating the genders.

And, opposition is strongest with people in the 45-year-old to 64-year-old demographic.

Whether residents are for or against urban drilling, city council says they want everyone to make informed decisions.

There will be an information session provided to the public next week.

“People can garner as much information from it as possible and we believe we can help strengthen our argument in opposition to this process. We know there are people in the community that will take that information and try to assume the same,” says councilor Jeffery Coffman.

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No Drilling Lethbridge is holding an information session at the University of Lethbridge tonight starting at 7:00 p.m.

The energy critics from the Wild Rose, Liberal and NDP parties will be on the panel.

For details on the information session you can visit nodrillinglethbridge.ca

The City of Lethbridge will host its information session on Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Yates.

A geophysicist from the university will be on the panel along with Dr. Vivien with Alberta Health Services, representatives from the city of Lethibridge plus representatives from the energy regulator and Alberta Energy.

CLICK HERE for details on the city’s information session.

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