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Canadian Natural Resources Limited has applied to drill horizontally beneath Minnie Lake, about three hours northeast of Edmonton. ((Facebook))

The Municipal District of Bonnyville, Alta., is backing a group of residents fighting an oil company's plans to drill beneath a nearby lake.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited has applied to drill horizontally beneath Minnie Lake, about three hours northeast of Edmonton.

The company wants to drill 15 oil wells at eight locations around and beneath the small lake.

Reeve Ed Rondeau said the lake has been losing water for years and is now less than a kilometre in diameter.

Residents are worried that drilling a well under the lake could shrink the lake even more despite assurances from the oil company, Rondeau said.

"They're concerned that in the process of drilling through aquifers and rock beds and everything else, it would be possible for the water to follow one of these paths and get sucked up by an aquifer … the fear is the lake could go even lower than what it is now," Rondeau said.

The Energy Resources Conservation Board hasn't yet approved the company's application.