Are you fracking kidding me, Christy?

Last week, Christy Clark stood before an Oil and Gas conference in Fort Nelson, and announced that the BC government would be launching a new website that discloses where fracking is occurring and what chemicals and toxins would be used at each site.

Sounds good, right? Transparency and openness in government, just like she promised, right?

Not so fast. There are a couple of things seriously wrong with this new initiative Christy announced.

First, let me quickly explain what fracking is, if you don’t know. Hydraulic  fracturing, or fracking as it is often called, is the process by which chemical-laced water and sand are blasted underground to break apart rock and release gas for extraction,after a site has been drilled by an oil and gas company. It is a very controversial method that has already been banned in several locations, including France,and part of the United states, because some of the toxic chemicals and substances used in the process can contaminate ground water.

Here in BC, fracking has been going on for nearly a decade with not much knowledge or fanfare to most British Columbians, and in fact, up until this registry was announced by Clark, the chemicals and toxins used in BC were kept secret by the oil and gas industry in this country.

Ironically, Canadians finally got their first glimpse of the truth behind what is going on in our country, from a report issued by the U.S. Congress last year, in which a full list of the ingredient used to extract the profitable gas was revealed.  Andrew Nikiforuk did a full report earlier this year in the Tyee  about these revelations, which concluded that:

According to the U.S. Congress, the majority of 750 fracking chemicals, which include a bunch of kitchen sink stuff too, are hazardous if not tumor-guaranteed cancer makers.

The amazing list includes coffee grinds, salt, ceramic balls, walnut hulls, lead, petroleum distillates, methanol, (a dirty air pollutant) benzene, toluene, xylene and millions of gallons of diesel. Benzene will curdle the brain and the liver, while just a cup of diesel can make an Olympic-sized pool of water undrinkable.

Hmm. Sounds like a very good reason for the government to develop this registry… right?

Sure it does. But here is one of the problem’s with the move. It is a voluntary registry, not a compulsory one, and while the industry has stated they support this, there simply is no one to ensure they do full reporting or that what is reported is correct and factual. The Western Wilderness Committee has already stated the registry falls short because :

“While having fracking companies disclose chemical additives in water is a good first step, the plan outlined does not go nearly far enough,” says Donaldson.

“There are serious risks associated with fracking, both in terms of the environment and human health.”

Donaldson notes that governments are increasingly taking steps to halt fracking operations, with bans or moratoriums in place in France, Quebec, and some U.S. states including New Jersey.

She says B.C. is trailing behind other jurisdictions when it comes to taking the dangers of fracking seriously”

Secondly, there is very little to no monitoring to ensure mine sites are complying with environmental regulations by BC’s Environmental Assessment office once the project has passed the initial assessment, giving us no assurance at all. This was recently made public after the Auditor General , John Doyle, issued a scathing report on BC’s environmental oversight:

Auditor General John Doyle isn’t satisfied with the follow-up once the office issues its approval.

Doyle says the EAO’s oversight isn’t sufficient to ensure compliance and enforcement, or to avoid significant adverse impacts from some of the projects it’s approved.

“Adequate monitoring and enforcement of certified projects is not occurring and follow-up evaluations are not being conducted,” Auditor General John Doyle said in statement issued on Thursday morning.

“We also found that information currently being provided to the public is not sufficient to ensure accountability,” said Doyle.”

There are other issues this new registry doesn’t come close to addressing – issues like the astronomical amount of water used in the process, that can never be replaced, which is another story altogether.

The real issue here is that while the rest of the world has already begun making strides to either ban fracking altogether, or at least halt it until real substantial studies and testing is done to ascertain the total impact on groundwater supplies and contamination, our government, via Rich Coleman, has always  maintained fracking is fine, safe and producers in BC have to meet” stringent environmental standards”.

The registry does not constitute what I would consider any real meaningful action on behalf of the province once again, and fails miserably in light of the lack of environmental oversight and monitoring exposed by the Auditor General in his recent report. If Clark wanted to provide real transparency for the people of BC, it would be a compulsory registry complete with regular site checks and ongoing monitoring to ensure these oil and gas companies are meeting the alleged “strict environmental standards” Coleman so often touts to the press.

Once again, the BC Liberals: Too Little, Too late.

28 thoughts on “Are you fracking kidding me, Christy?

  1. workforfun

    As with all the BC Liberals, Rich Coleman is full of “flatulence” !!!
    The BC Liberals promote industry self regulation – which has proven time and again not to work. The industries fall short of complying when regulations are enforced by government inspectors – so to leave the industry to operate in a safe and sound manner without checking and enforcement, is asking for serious problems.

    It would not be good policy for any government, but the BC Liberals are soooo out of touch with reality, Christy Clark prattles on as if she knew what she was talking about, and she doesn’t.

    Another glaring example of how little the BC Liberal government considers the people of British Columbia and with Clark and Coleman issuing the statements is another slap in the face.

    Thanks

    Like

  2. Lynn

    I recall that board room scene in the movie, Erin Brocovich.
    She tried to feed the other side with the poisoned water.
    Perhaps those fricker Frackers should take a slurp from the wells they have tainted?

    Like

    1. Laila

      Brava…. an excellent suggest Lynn…. quite excellent!

      Workforfun, you hit the nail on the head. When industry regulates and watches industry – any profession really, law, teaching etc – one can take everything with a grain of salt. But again, not everyone understands that, and this works to the governments advantage, as it does when they shovel us their well crafted number calculations on the HST reversal..lol…

      Gary, tried emailing you, wont go through?
      Kim, couldnt agree more. Harvey O. has a steller post on this today!!

      Like

  3. cherylb

    Industry self-regulation works about as well as corporate tax cuts and their methods for calculating our deficit. Once again, the BC Lieberals are first for big business; last for the citizens of this province. Are we close to a revolution yet? I don’t think I can handle another 18 or so months of these guys…..

    Like

  4. workforfun

    A little off topic, but related nonetheless.

    It seems that ICBC is now refusing to pay out insurance claims by saying the “not at fault” driver contributed to accidents. Last night on the news a trucker got rear ended by another vehicle driving excessively – the vehicle got written off. The truck driver was given 75% fault for …. being in the way I guess !!!!!! The only recourse is to take the government and ICBC to court – whoa, WTF is going on.

    BC Liberal government deliberately sabotaging everything good, right and proper in British Columbia so that privatization gets to rule the roost ???????????

    At this rate any insurance would be useless almost, as the not at fault drivers should not be on the road !!!!!

    Sorry, just could not let this little gem pass by without saying anything. Sure every case is different, but when someone rams into the back of your vehicle, their is no way it is your fault !

    Thanks.

    Like

  5. Julie

    Goodness people!! Don’t you know some of the U.S. states get, free home heat?? All they have to do is, light the water coming out of their faucets on fire. The farm animals can’t drink the water, neither can the wild creatures. Fracking should be totally outlawed. I will volunteer to hold the politicians noses, while someone pours the poisoned water down their their throats. We can even offer Christy some of that water. Fracking destroys the clean underground water, for miles and miles. If we don’t stop poisoning our underground water, our rivers, streams and lakes, we will run out of potable water.

    I have said, I would love to force feed Harper and Campbell, the water from a nearby stream, down from the dirty tar sands. I even asked if they would, I never got a reply. The horrific waste of water, used in the tar sands, is criminal.

    BC is going to become so polluted, because of Campbell and Harper’s stupidity of, the Enbridge pipeline, and the dirty oil tankers, and possibly tankers from Europe as well. Campbell’s first priority as High Commissioner is, to con Europe into accepting the dirty tar sands oil.

    How many hundreds of pipeline bursts will it take, for our asinine government, to stop using fossil fuels. There is reusable energy technology out there. However, politicians greed always comes first.

    Campbell and Harper have another pollution plan. They want to drill gas and oil wells, off BC’s coast. Never mind the 6.1 earthquake in the Queen Charlotte’s, and this last quake in Vancouver Island. Oil spills in our seas?? So what, Harper and Campbell could care less.

    Like

  6. John's Aghast

    Report on a VOLUNTARY basis? Give me a break!! WHO is going to volunteer the information that they just fracked your/my drinking water?? Musta been that sleazy operator next door. I certainly wouldn’t do THAT to your drinking water.

    This government is beyond belief!! Why don’t you just VOLUNTEER your income taxes. Based on the services you’re provided!! Ohmygosh!! Words fail me!!

    Like

  7. North Van's Grumps

    Laila you got the scoop on the Vancouver Sun with your Post: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/economy/Shale+operations+will+test+water+supply+report+says/5405692/story.html

    “Shale gas operations will test B.C.’s water supply, report says
    Pembina Institute urges province to consider scope of drillers’ demand for H20
    By Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun September 15, 2011 7:00 AM”

    The Pembina Institute depends upon donations to run its operations, and reports, so its asking, before you gain access to their reports, are you interested in making a donation.

    The Vancouver Sun, a for profit business, used Pembina’s report. Did they make a donation? Or is that why the Vancouver Sun didn’t provide a link to Pembina’s website, or a copy of the report?

    http://www.pembina.org/media-release/2265

    Like

  8. cathay gibson

    It’s time to break through these fallacies. Our environment which includes the earth, plants, animals and and the air we breathe can’t afford this simplistic rhetoric anymore.
    We have to get to the heart of the matter. A big speech with empty promises

    Like

  9. Google Search Criteria Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP)

    1st hit = Scholarly articles for Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP)

    3rd hit down gives this info: Frequently Asked Questions – Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program

    What is RAMP?

    Initiated in 1997, the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) is a science-based, joint environmental monitoring program that assesses the health of rivers and lakes in the oil sands region of northeastern Alberta.

    The program is designed to identify and address potential impacts of oil sands development and is frequently adjusted to reflect monitoring results, technological advances and community concerns.

    SNIP

    What area is involved in the Study?

    The RAMP Regional Study Area (RSA) is defined by the northeastern Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The RAMP RSA is bounded by the Alberta-Saskatchewan border on the east, the Alberta-Northwest Territories to the northeast, the Wood Buffalo National Park to the northwest and various demarcations including the Athabasca River and Cold Lake Air Weapons Range to the south. Within the Regional Study area is the Focal Study area and this area is defined by the watersheds in which oil sands development is occuring or will occur as well as portions of the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers found within the RSA.

    SNIP

    RAMP has focused on these main aquatic systems:

    The Athabasca River and Peace Athabasca delta.
    Tributaries to the Athabasca River including the Steepbank, Clearwater -Christina, Hangingstone, Ells, Tar, Firebag, Calumet, Muskeg, MacKay Rivers as well as several smaller tributaries.
    Wetlands and lakes occurring near current and proposed oil sands developments (Isadore’s Lake, Shipyard Lake, McClelland Lake and Kearl Lake.
    Acid sensitive lakes in northeastern Alberta.
    Regional lakes important to fisheries.

    Like

  10. Norman Farrell

    Fracking and other risky procedures involved with gas and oil production are associated with medical problems and toxic pollution yet environmental and health science oversight is totally inadequate. IMO, the best source of information for lay people is at ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

    Links here:
    http://northerninsights.blogspot.com/2011/09/people-in-ne-bc-prepare-for-this.html

    Like

  11. I urge everyone to read Norm’s blog, and to watch the video: “My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)”. Keep up the good work, Laila and Norm. Eventually, the truth will be known to the general public, hopefully before it’s too late.

    Like

  12. I have had people from the industry stand in front of me and say with a straight face that the only thing pumped into the ground during the process is unadulterated water with the implication that all the harmful crap is just stuff that was already there. But if you are a Liberal, a Rethughlican, a Stevie Regressive Conservative or a corporate tool and you’re not lying, then your lips are not moving!

    Like

  13. http://www.news1130.com/news/national/article/279507–5-000-litres-of-synthetic-based-mud-spills-off-newfoundland-s-white-rose-project

    I heard this on News 1130 this afternoon: “Colleen McConnell, a spokeswoman for Husky, said the spill occurred at about 9:30 a.m. after a shale shaker — a device that separates rock particles and sand from drilling fluids — stopped working, causing the muddy oil to spill into the sea.” A shale Shaker???? The way News 1130 was repeating the story it sort of made me say…. are we talking about an underwater Tar Sands or are we talking about ARE YOU FRACKING ME underwater.

    Its bad enough that the land around the Athabaska River is being dammed to hold the polluted drilling waters that are being used for Fracking, in plain sight, but what of the the damage that these oil rigs are doing to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico with their out of sight, out of mind Drilling accidents?

    The terminology of shale shaker, is this the same words that are being bandied about for the Athabaska, just a different terrain, all for the extraction of Natural Gas to be stored in Prince Rupert to then be shipped overseas where they’re willing to pay three times as much as the USA?

    Like

  14. fossil finder

    I have lived in northeastern BC for nearly thirty years. It’s an industrial playground. Fields around Dawson Creek that were cleared by pioneers with teams of horses are being overrun by gas companies. Wonder what those old timers would think about it all? Go down any gravel road and it’s not hard to see derricks (some flaring) or pipelines being laid down. It’s all legal of course, since we citizens don’t own the ground below six inches. Fracking going on? I guess so, with company pickup trucks seen in these parts with names like Calfrac. Apparently, this procedure goes on kilometres underground far below the water table. Can I believe this? Can I know that the percentage of dirty supposed cancer causing water recouped from these operations is being properly disposed of? Can I trust this government to enforce rules against big industry, even if they are caught breaking them? No, I am cynical and think maybe the only important rule is profit first, before people or environment.
    A sore point for some of us up here is Site C being proposed as the third dam on the Peace River. This one would ruin a valley rife with wildlife and habitat, historical landmarks and vast areas with first rate agricultural potential. Autumn is gorgeous in this valley especially a drive between Ft.St.John and Hudson’s Hope. Scenery in the Fraser valley at it’s best can’t compare in my opinion. Campbell announced this dam would go ahead after consultations and an environmental review. As a cynic, I don’t trust the process. Seems power will be needed by our province in the future so they want to re-visit our out of sight by southerners, overused Peace River and destroy an irreplaceable valley. There are contrary views as to why this dam is being proposed. Some say to sell electricity to America, others say to send up north to the Horn River basin for natural gas outfits, or over to the oil sands. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors between government and industry.
    Coal, is big business up here as well, once again, after a slump in the late nineties, with many new mines opening. To me, it doesn’t seem moral to sell this stuff to India or China knowing full well it will be burned straight, and the citizens will receive the toxins through air and water. Christie Campbell…er Clark is all about families as long as they are in BC. Yes, there are places in North America that burn it straight as well. Still,it doesn’t seem right to me to sell this stuff to developing countries without a clean technology in place.
    I could go on about clear cutting our boreal forests, turning our aspen trees into…toilet paper etc. I am not against using our resources, we need to use them, but I think the citizens who supposedly own them, should have a greater say in how things are being done.

    Like

  15. Pingback: People in NE BC, prepare for this – UPDATED | Perceptivity

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