fracking

B.C. Government Suppressed Details About Potentially Dangerous, Unregulated Fracking Dams

Progress Energy dam Garth Lenz

Early last spring, provincial civil servants cut off virtually all communication about what the government knew about a sprawling network of potentially dangerous and unregulated dams in northeast B.C. on the pretext they could not comment because of the impending election.

The coordinated effort meant there was virtually no comment until months after voting day from front-line agencies on how 92 unlicensed dams were built on the then BC Liberal government’s watch.

'Time Bombs': 92 Fracking Dams Quietly Built Without Permits, B.C. Government Docs Reveal

unlicensed frack water dam

The number of unlicensed and potentially dangerous dams built in recent years in northeast British Columbia is nearly double what has been reported, according to one of the province’s top water officials.

At least 92 unauthorized dams have been built in the region, where natural gas industry fracking operations consume more water than just about anywhere on earth. That’s far more than the 51 dams previously identified in documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

B.C.’s Narrow Fracking Review Doesn’t Serve the Public Interest

Horgan, BC fracking scientific inquiry,

By Amy Lubik, Ben Parfitt and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Just two days before B.C. Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announced a completely inadequate “independent scientific review” of fracking in our province, an international team of scientists issued a stark warning about the human health risks associated with the natural gas industry's rampant use of this brute force technology.

“Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health,” concluded the scientists, who were affiliated either with the Concerned Health Professionals of New York or the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Tellingly, the scientific review just announced by the B.C. government will expressly not investigate the human health impacts of fracking.

Words from the ‘Sacrifice Zone’: Caleb Behn on How B.C. is Failing First Nations on Fracking

Caleb Behn DeSmog Canada Taylor Roades.jpg

When the B.C. government announced its promised review of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, earlier this month, it came as a shock to many that it wouldn’t examine human health impacts.

The announcement coincided with the release in the U.S. of the most authoritative study of fracking’s threats to human health ever published, which found “no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health.”

For Caleb Behn, the government’s announcement marked a loss of hope in the less than one-year-old NDP government.

B.C. Fracking Inquiry Won’t Address Public Health or Emissions, Government Assures Industry Lobby Group

 seven generations drilling montney6

B.C.’s scientific inquiry into fracking won’t address risks to public health, the government quietly assured the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) nearly six weeks before government publicly announced the inquiry on Thursday.

B.C. also assured CAPP the inquiry would not address industry’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents obtained by DeSmog Canada.

You have the preeminent industry association in the country given six weeks advance notice not only about the inquiry itself but a clear indication that key things are simply not going to be addressed,” Ben Parfitt, an investigative journalist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told DeSmog Canada.

”I’m deeply troubled by that.”

This Vigilante Scientist Trekked Over 10,000 Kilometres to Reveal B.C.’s Leaking Gas Wells

John Werring in the field

If you’d met John Werring four years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you what an abandoned gas well looked like.

We had no idea whether they were even accessible,” said the registered professional biologist.

That was before the summer of 2014, when he headed up to Fort St. John, B.C., on a reconnaissance mission. At that time, much was known about leaking gas wells in the United States, but there was very little data on Canada.

All Werring had to work with was a map of abandoned wells provided by B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission. Armed with a gas monitor and a metal detector, he headed into what the gas industry calls the “Montney formation,” one of the largest shale gas resources in the world. Shale gas is primarily accessed via hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Most of these places, there’s nobody in the field,” Werring said. “You won’t see anybody for miles and miles. Just well after well after well.”

The Weaver-Horgan LNG Kerfuffle Explained

Weaver Horgan LNG DeSmog Canada

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver becomes downright indignant at suggestions he has retreated even a fraction from the LNG ultimatum he first delivered during a year-end interview with DeSmog Canada.

If B.C. starts to focus again on trying to land an LNG industry given all that has happened, I can tell you I am voting government down,” Weaver said in late December. “I am not standing by and watching us give away the farm yet again to land an industry we’re not competitive in. That’s my line in the sand.”

While Premier John Horgan was on a trade mission in Asia last week, Weaver repeated his ultimatum on Twitter, threatening to topple the government if the NDP continued to pursue “LNG folly,” emphasizing that B.C. cannot meet its climate targets if any major LNG project goes ahead. 

B.C.’s Fugitive Gas Pains: Report Calls for Crackdown on Biggest Polluters

methane emissions oil and gas wells BC

A potent, heat-trapping gas is being released into the atmosphere from B.C.’s oil and gas wells at a much higher rate than shown in industry and government reports and immediate action is needed, a new study by the David Suzuki Foundation confirms.

The findings, released Wednesday, follows on the heels of a previous peer-reviewed study by the Suzuki Foundation and St. Francis Xavier University, which found methane emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas industry are two-and-a-half times higher than reported.

The study revealed that wells in the Montney region, in northeast B.C. near Fort St. John, released more than 11,800 tonnes of methane into the air annually — the equivalent of burning 4.5 million tonnes of coal or putting two million cars on the road.

B.C. Quietly Releases Emissions Update That Shows It’ll Blow 2020 Climate Target

Premier John Horgan BC Emissions Inventory

Figures in a B.C. greenhouse gas inventory released quietly before Christmas show emissions have risen for four of the last five years.

Previously the province released a full public report on emissions, including inventory methodology, every two years but in December the government released a excel spreadsheet simply listing emissions figures for the second year in a row. The spreadsheet was published without any formal announcement or news release.

By law the province is required to reduce emissions 80 per cent from 2007 levels by 2050. In 2008 the province created a benchmark within that reduction, committing to get to 33 per cent reductions by 2020.

But the new figures show B.C. is not on course to meet that 2020 target. Instead emissions are only 2.1 per cent lower than the baseline year of 2007 and are on the rise.

B.C. Finds Gas Industry Built Numerous Unauthorized Fracking Dams Without Engineering Plans

Progress Energy Unauthorized Fracking Dam

Originally published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

More than half of nearly 50 dams that fossil fuel companies built in recent years without first obtaining the proper permits had serious structural problems that could have caused many of them to fail.

And now, B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission (OGC), which appeared to be asleep at the switch in allowing the unlicensed dams to be built in the first place, is frantically trying to figure out what to do about them after the fact.

Information about the unprecedented, unregulated dam-building spree is contained in a raft of documents that the OGC released in response to Freedom of Information requests filed by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

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