The Calgary Herald reports on the controversy over Yale's investment in sour gas wells:
Challengers of Compton Petroleum Corp.'s plan to drill sour gas wells on the southeast edge of Calgary are appealing to one of America's esteemed Ivy League schools to help quash the company's proposals. Yale University is the largest shareholder of the $1.5-billion Calgary company, and the institution's involvement has raised the ire of academics, who say the company may not meet the university's ethical investment guidelines. "This seems to be an investment that has the potential for significant harm both to human beings and the environment in the greater Calgary area," said Ben Begleiter, a research analyst with Yale's graduate students' union who monitors the school's investments. "With all the controversy surrounding it . . . Yale should press the company to really negotiate with the Calgary Health Region, the City of Calgary and other interveners to come up with a mutually acceptable solution." Opponents want Yale to demand Compton scrap its proposal, saying it doesn't fit with the school's 33-year-old ethical investment policy. "I am deeply disappointed that an institution as old and venerable as Yale would be involved with a project with such potentially severe health implications for hundreds of thousands of Calgarians," said David Eggen, environment critic for the Alberta New Democrat Party. "Our first priority is to defend the health and well-being of Albertans. I'm sure that Yale will agree and as a shareholder will want to put people over profits." Compton officials say they're not surprised its rivals are targeting the company's largest shareholder, but say they have already proven their activities are sound to Yale's investment managers. "We've written many letters detailing our programs and to point out major inaccuracies with what some people have said about us," company vice-president Derek Longfield said. "We've been a very good investment for Yale," Longfield said. Eggen and Michael Queenan, co-ordinator of the lobby group Residents for Accountability on Power Industry Development, are sending a letter to Yale University president Richard Levin outlining their concerns about Compton's plan to drill six new sour gas wells 1.1 kilometres from Calgary's city limits and asking for the university's assistance. Pointing out that some of the earliest research done on the toxic nature of hydrogen sulfide was done by Yale researchers, the letter says the school should ask Compton president Ernie Sapieha to withdraw the applications that are the subject of an ongoing Alberta Energy and Utilities Board hearing. "A serious leak from the wells would be catastrophic," the letter states. "There is no plan to evacuate all of the people living within a 15-kilometre radius of the wells. The potential health problems from a serious leak are staggering."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, are the Liberals and the NDP and the Residents for Accountability on Power Industry Development saying that anyone who invests in a company that drills sour gas wells, is unethical? And that drilling for sour gas is a 'questionable activity'?
These parties want Yale's ethical investment guidelines checked to see if they are being violated by Yale's investment in Compton.

2/17/2005 12:33:00 AM  

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