Coal Bed Methane Development in Alberta: What Residents and Landowners Need to Know


November 6, 2003 :: Mary Griffiths
Moderated by Susan Giffen

As the supplies of conventional natural gas decline, companies are looking for alternative sources. The U.S. now obtains about 10% of its natural gas from coal seams. We anticipate rapid expansion in Alberta, and more than 400 wells have already been drilled into the extensive coal deposits that underlie the southern half of the province.

The environmental impact of coalbed methane wells may differ from conventional gas wells, especially in areas where it is first necessary to dewater the coal to extract the gas.

We must learn from the American experience. What questions should landowners and residents ask if a CBM well is planned for their land? How can they encourage industry and the regulators to minimize the potential impacts of CBM development?

Speaker: Mary Griffiths joined the Pembina Institute as an Environmental Policy Analyst in May 2000 to work with the Energy Watch program. She co-authored the book "When the Oilpatch Comes to Your Backyard: A Citizens'' Guide to Protecting Your Rights", published by the Pembina Institute in 2001. This year Mary was the lead author of "Oil and Troubled Waters: Reducing the impact of the oil and gas industry on Alberta''s water resources " and also of "Unconventional Gas: The environmental challenges of coalbed methane development in Alberta." Mary also works on air quality issues as a member of the Board of Directors of the West Central Airshed Society and with sub-committees of the Alberta Clean Air Strategic Alliance. She has helped evaluate the environmental impact of energy projects, including oilsands developments and coal-fired power plants. Mary is a member of the Alberta Minister of the Environment''s Environmental Protection Advisory Committee and has long been an advocate for the protection of the environment, both in her previous employment and in her volunteer activities. Mary holds a Ph.D. and a B.A. in Geography from the University of Exeter, UK, where she also taught for four years


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