Mason: Redford government is fracking out of control by Travis Dosser, February 4, 2014, 630 CHED
Fracking is a contentious topic around the United States and eastern Canada but in Alberta there isn’t much said about the practice. But documents obtained by the New Democrats have the party sounding an alarm. Leader Brian Mason revealed documents obtained under a FOIP request that show fracking is becoming a popular practice here and it is damaging the province and wasting water.
“The total amount of surface water that was used for fracking purposes last year was 17,050796 cubic metres or enough to fill 6,800 Olympic size swimming pools,” explains Mason.
He says 15,000 licenses to allocate water to fracking projects were dealt out last year, which is up 647 per cent from the previous year. “That represents a huge increase in the actual amount of water,” explains Mason. “The actual amount of water allocated over the same period increased by over 1000 per cent.” Mason says all that water is now unusable and is polluted with chemicals. “This is an enormous amount of ground water that is being used for purpose that renders it permanently part of our water system or as part of our environment,” explains Mason. “It is pumped into the ground, polluted by chemicals and is never seen again.”
Mason says fracking is almost completely unregulated and he wants an independent review of the practice done. “Most Albertans don’t realize that fracking in Alberta is almost completely unregulated and it is increasing on a dramatic scale without any understanding on what the potential consequences will be,” explains Mason. … Several provinces are revisiting fracking as they examine concerns over groundwater and aquifer contamination and methane gas leaks. Mason says here in Alberta it seems the Redford government is showing no regard for your health.
“Back in 2011 we released information showing the PC’s had colluded with their corporate donors and industry lobbyists to convince Albertans that fracking is safe,” explains Mason. “There is no evidence that is actually the case so what we have called for and we’re calling for is, the government must undertake an independent scientific review of hydraulic fracturing, that there should be independent groundwater monitoring and a scientific assessment of river inflow needs before further water allocation decisions are made.”
The province is currently considering some other fracking projects that have Mason shaking his head. He says a company has put forth a proposal to frack within a kilometre of schools, homes and businesses in West Lethbridge and local politicians are doing nothing. “Golden Key is the company and it has been approved,” explains Mason. “We’ve been calling on the two conservative MLA’s in Lethbridge, Bridget Pastoor and Greg Wedick, to speak up and they’ve refused to do that.” He adds that if the MLA’s in the area aren’t willing to speak up for their constituents it may be time for some new faces. Mason says we know that Albertans want a government that puts their safety and the safety of their children first, not their corporate donors.
Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Robin Campbell quickly emailed the newsroom to comment on the accusations. “We are committed to developing our energy resources in a safe and responsible manner,” Campbell said in a release. “Alberta has strict regulations that apply to all oil and gas development regardless of the technology being used.” The Minister says the province has been tracking and monitoring hydraulic fracturing licenses and noticed a significant increase in the number of licenses issued in 2013 compared to 2012. Campbell says the province’s oil and gas sector accounts for around 10 per cent of water usage in Alberta and fracking only accounts for a fraction of the water usage. AER regulations prohibit the use of fracture fluids that may be harmful to groundwater quality when fracturing near a protected groundwater zone. [Who’s enforcing the regulations? The industry is self-reporting in Alberta.]
Campbell says the AER restricts fracturing within a 200-metre lateral distance of a water-well to reduce the potential impact or interference with domestic use aquifers or water wells. [Peer reviewed research proven industry’s leaking methane migrated nearly 7 miles, resulting in series of explosions that killed two people and millions in damages; Emphasis added]
Increase in fracking across Alberta ‘out of control’: NDP’s Mason by Mariam Ibrahim, February 4, 2014, Edmonton Journal
The Alberta NDP is renewing its call for the province to launch an independent review of the effects of fracking in light of newly released documents showing a massive increase in the number of water diversion licenses granted to energy companies last year. The number of temporary [water] diversion licenses granted across Alberta soared from 203 granted in 2012 to 1,516 approved in 2013, according to the documents obtained by the NDP from the Alberta Energy Regulator through a freedom of information request.
That amounts to more than 17 million cubic metres of water that could be diverted for the purposes of hydraulic fracturing…. “It’s pumped into the ground, it’s polluted by chemicals and is never seen again,” NDP leader Brian Mason said Tuesday after releasing the documents.
Fracking has been used to drill more than 170,000 wells across Alberta
since the practice began more than 50 years ago, according to the
Alberta government. As technology has improved over the decades, the
practice has become more widespread, and with that has come increased
scrutiny on its negative effects on the environment and groundwater. The list of U.S. counties and towns banning the controversial practice continues to grow. Quebec instituted its own ban in 2011.
The number of approved licenses for fracking across Alberta has increased “without any understanding of what the potential consequences
will be,” Mason said. “Many areas of Alberta still depend on well water,
and those uses, as well as other uses, are at risk.” He called on the province to undertake an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing, along with groundwater monitoring and a scientific assessment of river inflow needs, before more licenses are granted.
“It’s out of control,” he said.
According to Alberta Energy, fracking operations are regulated, approved
and licensed under the same regulatory framework as other oil and gas
projects. Late last year, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada released its 2014 Canadian Drilling Activity Forecast, which predicts 6,555 wells will be drilled in Alberta. [Emphasis added]
Fracking now an unregulated free-for-all in Alberta, NDP claims
Party leader said information shows number of fracking licences granted
soared 647 per cent by The Canadian Press, February 4, 2014, Canadian Manufacturing
The opposition NDP says newly released documents show fracking
has become an unregulated free-for-all in Alberta with no regard for the
impacts on groundwater or on people’s health. NDP Leader Brian Mason says information provided under freedom of information laws shows that the number of fracking licences granted by the province soared 647 per cent last year to 1,516. Mason says the amount of water allocated and used for fracking has increased even faster.
NDP says licence data shows fracking now an unregulated free-for-all in Alberta by The Canadian Press, February 4, 2014, Lethbridge Herald
The opposition NDP says newly released documents show fracking has become an unregulated free-for-all in Alberta with no regard for the impacts on groundwater or on people’s health. NDP Leader Brian Mason says information provided under freedom of information laws shows that the number of fracking licences granted by the province soared 647 per cent last year to 1,516. Mason says the amount of water allocated and used for fracking has increased even faster.
He says the province has gone too far to make a temporary moratorium on fracking realistic, but he says Conservative Premier Alison Redford’s government needs to get a handle on the health and environmental implications. … Several provinces are revisiting fracking as they examine concerns over groundwater and aquifer contamination and methane gas leaks. [Emphasis added]
Alberta Fracking An Unregulated Free-For-All, Licence Data Shows: NDP by The Canadian Press, February 4, 2014, Huffingtonpost.ca
Alberta NDP says licence data shows fracking now a free-for-all by The Canadian Press, February 4, 2014, ipolitics.ca
Documents show fracking is soaring in Alberta by The Canadian Press, February 4, 2014, GlobalSaskatoon
[Refer also to:
Map presented by the ERCB March 14, 2013 at “The Fracking Truth” Expert Panel in Calgary.
Alberta Horseshoe Canyon coalbed methane wells, 2006 (each square = Township x Range = 6 x 6 miles). Conventional and other unconventional wells are not included on this map, nor are all CBM wells (the blue points to some of the contamination cases discussed in this brief.). From: The Horseshoe Canyon Coals of Central Alberta – A Dry CBM Play
Above maps discussed in Brief review of threats to Canada’s groundwater from the oil and gas industry’s methane migration and hydraulic fracturing by Ernst Environmental Services, June 16, 2013