The argument over hydraulic fracturing — a technique used to extract natural gas from deep shale formations — has become increasingly polarized. Some environmental groups have demanded a nationwide moratorium because of complaints about polluted drinking water in wells. Meanwhile, industry officials and many politicians, including Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, extol fracturing and insist there is already more than enough regulation.
In British Columbia’s Peace River region, farming families and First Nations are witnessing an unprecedented rush on water resources, a rush driven by energy corporations that need copious amounts of water to produce natural gas.
Last year, Bob and Terry Webster got a firsthand taste for just what the water rush means. It’s left them and many of their neighbors wondering what the future holds for the region they call home, and for one of our most precious natural resources.
The Websters own a buffalo farm on Berryl Prairie, west of Hudson’s Hope and a short distance from Williston Lake, the reservoir in the north central region of the province created by the building of the WAC Bennett dam.
Independent MLA Bob Simpson is raising new questions today about the conduct of the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission in regards to water licences recently issued or pending for gas exploration companies in northeast B.C.
The issue came up a few months ago when it appeared that some gas companies were accessing water at a time of significant drought in the northeast. That's no longer the case, after recent flooding, but Simpson is accusing the Clark Liberals of ignoring an "explicit promise" to consult with the public, including first nations, before authorising new long term licences for water withdrawal.
Coalbed Methane development and fracking in BC's Rocky Mountains is still a very real threat. BP has sold their 300sq/km tenure to Apache Energy who will be fracking their first exploratory drill this summer.
Help us win $2000 to help fund the fight against this irresponsible resource development. Take 2 seconds and go to the following link and vote for our video (the bottom left)
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East Kootenay Citizens Concerned About Coalbed Methane
British Columbia’s two Independent MLAs are calling on Premier Clark (Letter attached) to publicly investigate the development of the province’s unconventional gas basins and the use of hydraulic fracturing to access this resource.
“Public policies are driving the rapid expansion of BC's unconventional gas sector, particularly in shale formations in the Peace Region,” said Vicki Huntington, the Independent MLA for Delta South, “It is incumbent on the government to ensure it fully understands the cumulative impacts associated with developing this resource.”
For the first time, a scientific study has linked natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing with a pattern of drinking water contamination so severe that some faucets can be lit on fire.
The peer-reviewed study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stands to shape the contentious debate over whether drilling is safe and begins to fill an information gap that has made it difficult for lawmakers and the public to understand the risks.