Below you will find multiple posts about Fracking..
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Fracking explained ~ Barton moss
Published on Apr 28, 2014
WARNING Fracking An Inconvenient Truth Watch Learn about Fracking Shale Gas what they dont say
Published on Aug 17, 2013
Fracking An Inconvenient Truth Watch and Learn all about Fracking for Shale Gas . Fracking explained in 3d animation the effects on the earth and its close towns and residents.
A MUST Watch film showing why the UK and EUROPE MUST NOT ALLOW this deliberate earth destruction !! please like and get your friends and family to see this NWO crazy world destruction and help stop this suicidal earth destruction ..
A http://www.nibiru-elenin.co.uk/presentation giving you the best quality and relevant info on all earth space UFO and alien issues.
production for Nibiru Elenin.co.uk
What goes in and out of
Truth About Fracking – Wes Wilson
Published on Jan 10, 2013
Retired EPA engineer Wes Wilson and retired Bureau of Reclamation official Phil Doe were invited to Colorado Springs to share their knowledge about drilling and hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking).
Public interest was so great not everyone wishing to attend could be accommodated, so we’re sharing video of the event here. This is Part two of four parts. This video is courtesy of GrowthBusters. To find out about other events and happenings related to this issue, please visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frackbusters/509853119054456?ref=hl
Stop fracking in Canada
Fracking is a technique that involves the injection of millions of litres of water and thousands of litres of unidentified chemicals underground at very high pressure in order to create fractures in the underlying shale rock formations and extract the natural gas below the surface. Fracking for unconventional gas is rapidly expanding in almost every province across Canada.
The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide stop to fracking operations. Please click here to support our petition campaign to put pressure on the federal government to step into a leadership role and ensure that our water sources, people’s health and the environment are protected from unnecessary and dangerous pollution.
Communities across the country are raising red flags because of water contamination, green house gas emissions and the impacts on public health. Despite this, industry is expanding across the country at an alarming rate. The fracker tracker is an interactive tool that maps where fracking is happening so communities can share information, learn from and join in fights across the country. Please note these map locations are approximate, if you have more detailed information to offer, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. View Fracker Tracker in a larger map and read details. Download a text/print version here.
View Fracker Tracker in a larger map and read details. Download a text/print version here.
The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, is facing mounting opposition across the country. A new Environics Research poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians has found that 62% of Canadians support “a moratorium on all fracking for natural gas until all the federal environmental reviews are complete”. Read media release here.
Recent media highlights
- U.S. groups weigh in on Colchester fracking wastewater debate, May 13, 2013
- EU-Canada trade agreement threatens fracking bans, May 6, 2013
- Council of Canadians urges Nova Scotia government to intervene in discharge of Colchester fracking wastewater, May 2, 2013
- OP-ED: Testing the Right to Frack, Stuart Trew, The Tyee, March 28, 2013
- Council of Canadians presses Ontario Liberal Party leader candidates to take position against fracking before leadership convention, January 8, 2013
Harper government & fracking
- ADVISORY: Council of Canadians to deliver buckets of toxic fracking chemicals to Peter Kent, September 18, 2012
- NEWS: Harper government has power to stop fracking in Canada
- NEWS: Federal review of fracking may not be completed until April 2013
- NEWS: Bureaucrats tell Harper about fracking dangers, again
- NEWS: Kent’s inaction on fracking endangers Canada’s water
Key campaign blogs
- Council of Canadians joins the call for a ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York
- Fracking may threaten Lake Ainslie
- Treating fracking wastewater in Niagara Falls
- Fracking threatens the Great Lakes
- Opposing fracking in Alberta
- Opposing fracking in the Atlantic provinces
- Our ‘Protecting Communities’ against fracking conference
- Fracking and the Ontario Energy Board
- ACTION ALERT: Stop fracking waste from being dumped into the Bay of Fundy!
- PAPER PETITION: Request the Government of Canada place a moratorium on fracking while reviews are conducted
- E-PETITION: Demand federal action to stop fracking!
- SAMPLE MUNICIPAL RESOLUTION: Pass a resolution against fracking in your community
- ACTION ALERT: Tell the Niagara Falls Water Board not to frack with our water!
- SIGN THE PETITION: Inverness Country chapter calls for fracking ban in Nova Scotia
- ACTION ALERT: Lethbridge chapter calls for Alberta-wide ban on fracking
- Council calls for public inquiry on fracking in British Columbia
- Niagara-on-the-Lake calls for moratorium on treating fracking wastewater in the Great Lakes Basin
- Nova Scotia to conduct review on fracking
- Inverness County council supports Nova Scotia-wide fracking ban
- Moncton stops selling its drinking water for fracking
- Moncton says no to fracking in Turtle Creek watershed
Truth About Fracking – Discussion
Published on Jan 11, 2013
Retired EPA engineer Wes Wilson and retired Bureau of Reclamation official Phil Doe were invited to Colorado Springs to share their knowledge about drilling and hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking).
Public interest was so great not everyone wishing to attend could be accommodated, so we’re sharing video of the event here.
This is Part four of four parts. This video is courtesy of GrowthBusters. To find out about other events and happenings related to this issue, please visit
- For all campaign blogs opposing fracking, go here
- REPORT: The Right to Say No: EU-Canada trade agreement threatens fracking bans, May 6, 2013. (English or French)
- Free trade is fracking with our future: How NAFTA, FIPA and other investment deals put democracy and the environment at risk, March 2013 (FACT SHEET)
- Momentum Building for Fracking Bans, Canadian Perspectives, Autumn 2012
- VIDEO: Fracking presentation in Saskatchewan featuring Jessica Ernst, June 2012
- We Are All Stewards of the Land: One community’s fight against fracking, Canadian Perspectives, Spring 2012
- Myths Versus Realities: Getting the facts about fracking, February 2012 (FACT SHEET – see fact sheet sources here)
- VIDEO: Maude Barlow conversation on Fracking and Water, Institute for Advanced Study, November 30, 2011
- Feds Need to Face the Facts about Fracking, Canadian Perspectives, Autumn 2011
- Building Community Action Against Fracking, Canadian Perspectives, Summer 2011
- No Fracking Way: Our water, health and air at risk, Canadian Perspectives, Summer 2011
- No Fracking Way! Hydraulic fracturing poses serious risks to water and health, January 2011 (FACT SHEET)
Council of Canadians delivers buckets of toxic fracking chemicals to Peter Kent
On September 20, 2012, The Council of Canadians delivered petitions signed by nearly 10,000 people who are demanding a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Canada until the federal reviews are complete. Read media release here. See photos from the delivery below.
Letter to the premiers of Canada
On May 16, 2012, the State of Vermont passed Bill H.464, an Act relating to hydraulic fracturing wells for natural gas and oil production, and became the first state to ban hydraulic fracturing in the United States. The Council of Canadians has written to the premiers of the provinces and territories across Canada asking that they follow suit and implement a ban on fracking, which poses great risks to human health and water sources. Read a copy of one of the letters here.
4 Horrifying Dangers of Fracking
Photo Credit: AFP November 30, 2012 |
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.
The good news is that a public health department— New York State’s Department of Health (DOH)— is finally undertaking an assessment of fracking’s likely health risks. The bad news is that it’s questionable whether it will allow adequate time to do a credible and complete job. So says a new scientific watchdog group launched to assure that science, rather than expediency prevails.
Up until now government has relied on the gas industry’s blanket assurances of safety. The industry routinely tries to conflate the safety of vertical gas drilling (in use for a over a century) with horizontal fracking (in use for a little over a decade), a method which deploys a potent arsenal of chemicals so hazardous they defy known waste treatment methods.
Led by Dr. David O. Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, the new group, Concerned Health Professionals of New York, represents hundreds of health professionals. (Others are welcome to join at their Web site.) Their goal is assuring that the Health Impact Assessment currently requested by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, is comprehensive, complete and conducted transparently. And to help that process, they have compiled health research and reports on their Web site to make sure that there are no omissions.
Fracking’s Four Biggest Biophysical Risks
There are five areas of concern, detailed in the research the doctors have collated, about the biophysical risks.
1. Radioactive wastewater
The higher levels of radioactive materials, released through drilling from Marcellus shale, exceed EPA’s maximum contaminant safety levels by 1,000-fold. Due to infrequent testing, it’s unlikely that radioactivity in public water would be detected prior to mass consumption, with exposure resulting in “anemia, cataracts, cancer, and increased mortality,” according to a CDC toxicological profiles report.
With radon exposure, the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., the radon present in the shale will readily mix with the gas and travel with it via pipeline into the homes and businesses of its end users.
Exhaust from trucks and industrial equipment increases smog in both rural locations and travels downstate to impair air quality in regional urban environments.
4. Chemical contamination of drinking water
Over time, most well casings fail. When fracking fluids seep from them to connect with underground fissures, previously abandoned wells, and natural faults and fractures, the contaminants and methane can readily migration over long distances into underground water ways and fresh drinking water sources.
Five Main Systemic Obstacles to Protecting Health From Fracking
In addition to the biophysical vectors, is the overarching context for assessing, preventing or treating the resulting diseases. To make an accurate assessment, it’s necessary to consider:
1. The long latency of many illnesses
A higher incidence of asthma, cancer, heart disease and the effects of endocrine disruption on developing fetuses and children, due to contaminant exposure, only become evident over time. To prevent disease rather than incur its high human and economic costs, it’s best to intervene prior to exposure, rather than act in hindsight.
2. The lack of medical know-how
Conventional medicine does not recognize, no less treat, symptoms and illnesses resulting from increasing toxic chemicals exposures. Treatment of cancer and radiation-related conditions is a medical specialty.
3. The conflicts of interests affecting scientific findings
According to studies cited in a 2012 meeting presentation before the NY DEC, industry-funded studies can result in findings that “benefit sponsors, (are based on) poor study design, and (withhold) negative data from publication.”
Matt Damon plays a natural gas industry salesman in Promised Land.
What does gas drilling in western Pennsylvania have to do with dead cows? To find out, watch Promised Land, the upcoming Matt Damon movie that explores what can happen to rural communities when fracking comes to town.
Fracking, a method of natural gas extraction, has gained nationwide attention as communities near well sites reveal that their groundwater has been contaminated with toxic drilling chemicals used in fracking, or hydraulic fracturing as it’s otherwise known.
Why this movie matters:
Promised Land is must-see for anyone interested in learning why this natural gas drilling method has become so controversial — and why communities, conservationists and environmentalists are pushing for reforms to fracking laws.
Matt Damon plays a corporate gas salesman trying to expand his company’s drilling holdings in rural Pennsylvania. He meets his match when a grassroots organizer (John Krasinski) joins forces with a respected school teacher (Hal Holbrook) to show community members that selling drilling rights to their land could result in more than they bargain for.
Promised Land opens in December in select theaters.
Promised Land movie site: focusfeatures.com/promised_land
More about fracking
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used by the oil and gas industry to get natural gas and oil to flow through the rocks in which it is trapped. The fracking process includes pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals (including carcinogens) into shale thousands of feet under the surface.
Why fracking is controversial
Fracking has gained national attention as communities near gas wells report incidents of severe groundwater pollution not present before gas companies began fracking their area. Fracking operations are spreading throughout the United States, yet:
- Fracking safety regulations are limited.
- Incidents of ground water contamination in high-fracking areas have been reported all over the country, from Colorado to Pennsylvania.
- Public disclosure laws of chemicals involved in fracking differ by state, yet most states do not require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals pumped into the ground during fracking.
Why changes are needed
Communities and residents near drill sites deserve to know what chemicals are being injected underground.
Fracking takes advantage of loopholes in federal laws which were designed to protect drinking water, so the chemicals used in drilling are not required to be publicly disclosed. So, as the film portrays, local communities and conservationists are increasingly concerned about its effects on drinking water and human health, as well as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, wildlife and even earthquakes.
Communities and residents near drill sites deserve to know what chemicals are being injected underground in order to help identify the source of contamination in the case of accidental releases, spills, or water contamination.
Fracking on federal wildlands
In addition to the private lands and farms addressed in the film, fracking is also happening on public lands owned by all Americans, especially ones managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Rocky Mountain West. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico contain some of the most spectacular American landscapes but are also coveted for their natural gas resources.
The Wilderness Society has always advocated for stronger disclosure laws. In Spring, 2012, the BLM announced draft rules for a new policy for chemical disclosure on federal leases. We strongly support setting stronger standards. Unfortunately the proposed rules don’t require drillers to publicly disclose information about the fracking chemicals and their volumes until after the drilling has been completed.
- Hydraulic fracturing perils: Does your state protect its citizens from fracking?
- Fracking dangers: 7 ugly reasons why wilderness lovers should be worried
- Dangerous pitfalls of oil production from natural gas: 5 reasons the boom is doomed to bust
Fracking dangers: 7 ugly reasons why wilderness lovers should be worried
Flikr creative commons: ProgressOhio
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a technique used by the oil and gas industry to extract natural gas from rock thousands of feet underground. The fracking process includes pumping millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals (including carcinogens) underground.
Evidence suggests that this risky process affects the water we drink, air we breathe, food we eat and climate we rely on for comfort. And like all oil and gas efforts, it endangers the wild places we love dearly. Here’s the ugly evidence:
1. Fracking disrupts and threatens wild lands
Fracking negatively impacts wild lands treasured by all Americans. Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Rocky Mountain West. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico contain some of the most spectacular American landscapes but are also coveted for their natural gas resources. This spring, the BLM did announce a new policy for chemical disclosure on leased lands. The Wilderness Society strongly supports setting more stringent standards because these proposed rules don’t require public disclosure about fracking chemicals until after the drilling has been completed.
2. Fracking contaminates drinking water
Last fall, the EPA released a report showing that fracking had contaminated groundwater in Wyoming, sparking a deluge of speculation about water pollution as a consequence of natural gas extraction. The evidence was used to back a claim that Pennsylvania water wells were polluted with methane. The New York Times’ own investigation in the state showed levels of radiation well beyond federal drinking-water standards. In places like Texas, it’s harder to get evidence, which some suspect is because of conflicts of interest.
There are 29 states with fracking in some stage of development or activity. Here is a map showing the location of U.S. shale gas plays, or shale formations in which natural gas is trapped (data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) courtesy of data.fractracker.org):
3. Fracking pollutes the air with scary pollutants
Since Garfield County, Colorado has experienced fracking development, residents who live within a half mile of the natural gas wells have been exposed to air pollutants, like the carcinogen benzene and toxic hydrocarbons known to cause respiratory and neurological problems, according to a three-year study from the Colorado School of Public Health. Colorado allows companies to drill for natural gas within 150 feet of homes, so nearby residents could be facing acute and chronic health problems like leukemia in the long-term.
4. Global warming gone overboard
In some ways, the most significant air pollutant is methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 20 to 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than does carbon dioxide. While some claim that the cost is worth the benefits if it means we can transition away from fossil fuels, it has been shown that the “footprint” of shale gas is actually 20 percent higher than coal.
5. Even if you don’t drink the water, animals will
Of course, water pollution not only affects human populations, it affects other wildlife as well. This should concern anyone who eats meat, whether they hunt it or purchase it indirectly from a farm, which may incidentally be near a fracking well. In addition to degradation of habitat and interference with migration and reproduction, farmers have reported illness and death among domestic animals exposed to fracking wastewater.
6. Fracking also causes earthquakes?
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping massive amounts of water into the earth’s crust to break apart rock, so it should be no surprise that small earthquakes that have occurred in Ohio and Arkansas have been linked to nearby wastewater wells. The wastewater wells take in the water used to fracture the rock, and because the water is thousands of feet underground, it is under very high pressure. Since thousands of these new wells are being developed in populated areas, even small earthquakes are alarming for most of these areas haven’t been seismically active in the past.
7. Despite recorded health risks, the facts are hard to find.
Fracking takes advantage of loopholes in federal laws designed to protect drinking water, so the chemicals used in drilling are not required by federal law to be publicly disclosed. Disclosure requirements for fracking chemicals differ widely from state to state, but the majority of states with fracking have no disclosure rules at all (only 14 out of the 29 have any). The rules that do exist are inadequate, failing to require disclosure of many important aspects, such as:
- pre-fracking disclosure of all the chemicals that may be used (this makes it impossible to trace and prove the source of water contamination if it arises)
- disclosure of the concentration of all chemicals
- full disclosure to medical professionals in the event of an accident because of “trade secret” exemptions
Even for those states with laws, enforcement isn’t strict.
Fracking: A silent death sweeps across the nation
Farmland is tainted. Drinking water turns flammable. And humans along with animals are sick. The cause? Fracking. It’s terrorizing the environment, destroying the health of those who live close to the sites and contaminating the food supply. With more than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection locations around the country, if this practice is not contained soon, clean water and food will become a distant memory.
What exactly is fracking? It’s a technique used by the oil industry to facilitate the flow of natural gas or petroleum by injecting mass amounts of noxious liquid deep into the earth. The chemicals used in fracking (benzene, arsenic, ethylene glycol, lead, formaldehyde, toluene, Uranium-238, Radium-226, to name a few) devastate the land and water within proximity to the poisonous injection sites. Even more alarming, the toxins are also linked with birth defects, cancer, autism, kidney failure and autoimmune disorders.
Water on fire
One of the more dramatic illustrations of fracking contamination is water catching fire straight our of the faucet. Seriously. The methane levels are so high, tap water becomes combustible. Not only does fracking ruin the land and water, but it also infuses livestock and plants with toxins that eventually enter into the food supply. Farmers who live close to fracking wells have become seriously ill, animals die.
One example is seen with Marilyn and Robert Hunt, farmers in West Virginia. Goats, chickens and cattle are raised on their 70-acre organic farm. The Hunts turned down an offer from the Chesapeake Energy Corporation to lease their minerals rights. This didn’t prevent Chesapeake from “stealing gas from both sides of our property,”
according to Mrs. Hunt in the Organic Consumers Association article, “Fracking our Farms: A Tale of Five Farming Families.” Then, in 2010, the company received a permit to dispose fracking waste on her land. She recalls, “The water got little white flecks in it, and we started to get sick. We lost a whole lot of baby goats that got gastrointestinal disorders from drinking the water.” Curiously, the cattle were spared any adverse effects. Mrs. Hunt believes this is due to the fact that the cattle drink from an uncontaminated spring high on the property.
Susan Wallace-Babb, a Colorado rancher, has also suffered from fracking. In 2005, she breathed in fumes from an overflowing natural gas tank half a mile from her property. She collapsed, unconscious. The next morning, Susan was violently ill with severe diarrhea and uncontrollable vomiting. Within a few days, a burning rash broke out over her body, lesions soon followed. Her symptoms became worse whenever she went outdoors. A year later she moved to a small town in Texas. Susan’s health improved over the course of three years until Exxon began fracking wells 14 miles away. Her symptoms returned within a few short months.
End the madness
Until farmers refuse to lease their land to fracking operators, the problem will continue to escalate. In an effort to educate fellow ranchers about the dangers of fracking, Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, warns, “They’re here to rape this land, make as much money as they can and get the hell out of here. They could give a crap less what they are doing here. They will come on your property look you straight in the eye and lie to you.”
For those who find fracking unacceptable, a petition to ban the practice can be found here.
To learn more, the Dangers of Fracking website offers unique animated information.
Sources for this article include:
About the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.
Radioactive Water Streaming Out of Pennsylvania Fracking Waste Site
Report reveals ‘surprising magnitude of radioactivity’ in local water sources from fracking waste
A Consol Energy Horizontal Gas Drilling Rig explores the Marcellus Shale outside the town of Waynesburg, PA on April 13, 2012 (Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images)Waste-water from a hydraulic fracturing site in Pennsylvania that is treated and released into local streams has caused high levels of toxic contamination, including elevated levels of radioactive materials, a report released Wednesday exposes.
“We were surprised by the magnitude of radioactivity” downstream from the plant, said co-author Avner Vengosh, geochemistry professor at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “It’s unusual to find this level,” he told USA Today, adding that other sites should be investigated.
The Guardian reports:
The Duke University study, published on Wednesday, examined the water discharged from Josephine Brine Treatment Facility into Blacklick Creek, which feeds into a water source for western Pennsylvania cities, including Pittsburgh. Scientists took samples upstream and downstream from the treatment facility over a two-year period, with the last sample taken in June this year.
Elevated levels of chloride and bromide, combined with strontium, radium, oxygen, and hydrogen isotopic compositions, are present in the Marcellus shale waste waters, the study found.
The report, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology by a group of Duke University researchers, states that fracking waste water disposal methods pose a great threat to human and environmental health, particularly gas companies that send waste to treatment sites that are currently allowed to release treated water into local streams.
Shale gas production, i.e. fracking, is currently exempt from certain rules within laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Safe Water Drinking Act due to the “Halliburton loophole” pushed through by former Vice-President/former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney. Frackers are allowed to monitor their own waste production and largely avoid any regulated restrictions.
According to the researchers, radium levels in the Pennsylvania stream sediments where waste-water was discharged were about “200 times greater than upstream and background sediments and above radioactive waste disposal threshold regulations, posing potential environmental risks of radium bio-accumulation in localized areas of shale gas waste-water disposal.”
“Each day, oil and gas producers generate 2 billion gallons of waste-water,” said co-author Robert B. Jackson, Duke professor of environmental science, Tuesday. “They produce more waste-water than hydrocarbons. That’s the broader implication of this study. We have to do something with this waste-water.”
“The use of fossil fuels has a direct climate connection,” he said. “Hundreds of billions of gallons of waste-water is a consequence of our reliance — our addiction — to fossil fuels. That’s another price we pay for needing so much oil and gas.”
Regulator, Encana sued over fracking, water
Published on Nov 13, 2013
Vancouver-based environmental law firm ecojustice announced a lawsuit Wednesday in BC court against the province’s oil and gas regulator over its allegedly unlawful issuance of water permits for fracking.
The suit is being brought on behalf of the Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC over increasingly controversial shale gas operations in northeast BC. It contends that the Oil and Gas Commission is violating the province’s Water Act.
Fracking is enormously water-intensive, which is of particular concern given recent drought conditions in the region and plans to dramatically increase fracking to supply proposed liquefied natural gas terminals on BC’s coast. Noted Sierra Club BC’s Caitlyn Vernon, “Any push for LNG will result in a rush on our water and we need to make sure that we’re managing it carefully.”
The case comes on the eve of the deadline for public feedback for the updating of BC’s century-old Water Act. The Wilderness Committee’s Eoin Madden is concerned that discussion discussion around the new Act is largely avoiding avoiding the elephant in the room – fracking. “We’re very eager to see that the oil and gas industry is covered by the Water Sustainability Act, but there’s been a conspicuous non-reference to [water].”
Lead counsel on the case, Karen Campbell, believes this legal action could shape shale gas policy in the new Act. “This is the opportunity to raise the question of whether or not the Oil and Gas Commission should be overseeing water use by industry or whether maybe the industry of environment should get that job back.”
The OGC and Encana will 21 days to file a response to the case. Said Campbell, “Beyond that, we’re hoping to get this case in for a court hearing as soon as possible, but likely is going to be sometime in the new year.”
BC Regulator Sued for Water Act Violations Related to Fracking Industry
Three environmental organizations are taking aim at what they call the “systemic” contravening of British Colombia water usage laws in favour of the province’s natural gas industry.
A lawsuit (PDF) recently filed in the Supreme Court of BC alleges that the BC Oil and Gas Commission has been violating the provincial Water Act in its granting of licenses to natural gas companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the province. The suit is being brought by environmental law charity Ecojustice on behalf of the Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC
“Given that water is an increasingly scarce and precious resource, and that in a climate changing world we need to be managing it carefully, the first step is for the government to do what they are legally required to do by their own laws,” Caitlyn Vernon of Sierra Club BC told Desmog in an interview.
Currently, companies can be granted 24 month permits for water use as a short term arrangement (that’s up from the 12 month limit that was in place until last spring). These permits come with little review and are meant for short-term, low-impact projects. For longer term undertakings that will last several years – such as oil and gas extraction – companies are supposed to apply for a water usage license, which involves a more rigorous review and monitoring process. The lawsuit alleges that the commission has been consistently renewing short-term permits, and thereby contravening the law.
Data received by Ecojustice from the BC Oil and Gas commission which forms the basis of the lawsuit, shows that some permits have been renewed up to six times, and that some permits are granted for more than 24 months at a time. The commission’s actions, they say, clearly shows a systemic avoidance of the law.
Also named in the lawsuit is gas company Encana Corp. While there are no allegations that Encana has violated permitting laws itself, the suit hopes to quash two water permits that the company was granted, on the basis that the permits last more than one term and that some exceed the 24 month limit laid out in the Water Act. While Encana is only one of many companies operating fracking sites in the province, it is one of the largest, and their situation provides clear evidence of the contravention of the Water Act, explained Karen Campbell of Ecojustice in a phone interview with Desmog.
Long-term water usage licenses require oversight necessary to preserve the province’s freshwater, and especially drinking water, according to Campbell. Already there are concerns that communities in northern BC are experiencing water shortages. For example, the three organizations point to Encana drawing on massive amounts of water from the Kisktinaw River, from with the town of Dawson Creek draws their water.
Over the past three years, the company has used the equivalent of 880 Olympic-sized swimming pools – the same amount the town uses in one year.
“The more water industrial users take, the less water there is to sustain ecosystems or for people to drink,” said Campbell in a Q & A released by Ecojustice. “What’s especially concerning is that no one seems to know exactly how much water industry operations are consuming.” Those concerns were echoed by Vernon, who explained that no government official has been able to provide them with exactly how much water is being used by the natural gas industry in the province.