By Dwight Ford
The Campbell Government has delivered on its promise to introduce new oil and gas industry well setback regulations that go to improving public safety.
Seen as responding to environnmental concerns put forward in the wake of the EnCana facility bombings in the South Peace, the government is moving to keep new oil and gas wells farther away from people, especially schoolchildren.
Under changes announced yesterday, new wells must be at least a kilometre from schools and community centres, and there will be enhanced safety regulations for developments between one and two kilometres from such facilities.
Wells located within half-a-kilometre from residences will also be subject to extra safety rules, and people living within 250 metres from a well site will now have the mediation option of bringing concerns to the Fort St. John based, Provincial Oil and Gas Commission.
Other measures announced by the province in recent months include giving greater regulatory power to the commission, and using a mobile air-testing lab to measure air quality in the area this summer.
The environmental concerns have been brought forward, following the series of EnCana pipeline bombings near Dawson Creek, in 2008 and 2009, which have yet to result in any RCMP arrests or charges.
The new regulations come into effect this fall.