Friday, 25 October 2013

Environmental concerns – fracking or hydraulic fracturing

I know how much we worry about our well water. The drought last year (2012) was frightening. We watched our trees wilt. Several near-by suburban communities and farmers had water issues. We ended up being fine. We have a deep well.

The news has been full of protests lately. They are many. We move so quickly ahead in all areas of science, whether healthcare, the government or big business has data or not. What is of utmost concern are the reports and data that are not made public.

The Canadian government, AKA PM Harper's PMO, has been clear on muzzling public sector scientists, who are not permitted to speak to media. Many complain about this issue.

Stop muzzling scientists, protesters tell Tories

Sep 16, 2013 - Hundreds of frustrated scientists descended on Parliament Hill Monday to demand that the Tories stop muzzling scientists and cutting research funding.

First Nations protested the intention of a company to begin fracking in New Brunswick. Police cars were fire bombed following months of peaceful protests. The N.B. government will not discuss this issue nation to nation.
Alward defended the RCMP’s actions that sparked violence, saying the encampment at the side of a highway leading into the village of Rexton was not a 'safe and secure place.' The police moved in to ensure the safety of the public, he said. Alward also called on native leaders across the province to…

It is no wonder they are worried with Environment Canada reports like this:

Chinook Fuels Ltd. Sentenced to Pay $60,000 for Offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

FORT McMURRAY, Alta. – October 24, 2013 – Chinook Fuels Ltd, of Fort McMurray, Alberta, was sentenced on Friday, October 18, to pay $60,000 in Alberta Provincial Court to the Environmental Damages Fund for offences under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The company pleaded guilty to the transfer of petroleum products into unregistered tanks, failure to register tanks with Environment Canada, and failure to have tanks installed by a party approved to do so in the Province of Alberta.

[Download the
full report here (PDF).] 
Then there is Jessica Ernst. She can light her well water on fire after fracking. Her water has methane and ethane. 
She is a scientist, 30-years employed in the industry, ironically enough.

She went through all the proper channels, finally writing a detailed report.  Her well water burned her skin until she figured it out. She now has to travel to get water. She questioned what was going on.
The report details one explosion.
An incident in which Mr. Jack was injured.
She states:
But, what I thought was discouraging, is…in me posing that question, I was called an environmental extremist both by Tom Flanagan on a CBC show and the National Post and I think that was a reflection of some of the bullying – unfortunately – that some environmental groups experienced in asking basic questions about what is the state of Canada’s environment. ... 
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping water, nitrogen, sand and chemicals at high pressure
to fracture rock and allow natural gas or oil to flow through wells to the surface. 

Ernst attempted to sue the province for being in bed with the energy companies, as well as the energy companies themselves. The issue of Crown Land has been a difficult one.

 You'd think the provincial agencies were there to protect citizens, and the environment, but it hasn't proven to be the case. In listening to a CBC The Current report, she tells us that she has been unable to hold anyone accountable. She believes that her neighbours are afraid to speak out, and she believes many have been muzzled by non-disclosure agreements, having been bought out by the industry. She is standing firm, having seen what fracking has done to her water.
Jessica Ernst says she could light her water on fire as it came out of the tap from her well
ROSEBUD, Alta. - An Alberta woman has lost a round in her legal battle against the contentious process of hydraulic fracturing.Jessica Ernst launched a $33-million lawsuit against the Alberta government, the province's energy regulator and energy company Encana. She claims gas wells fracked around he...


Hootin Anni said...

People issues and government issues just don't go 'hand in hand' like it should be. It's like the countries' governments want nothing but money/profits to fill their own pockets.

Don't get me started.

I'm happy to read that your well problems were okay through the drought tho.

We had the same issues here. But now the reservoirs are once again to full capacity...for now.

Kay L. Davies said...

The disconnect between governments and people is getting worse and worse. I love Canada but I want to move away, if I could find a place where government is responsible to the people for whom it works.
And don't get me started on fracking, Jenn, or I could go on and on and on and on and on...
Luv, K

Red said...

Big money wags the whole thing. Big money pays to promote fracking.

Phil Slade said...

It is a frightening story Jenn, especially so when the government here in the UK are also promoting fracking in this very area.

Anonymous said...

As long as man operates only for personal gain, we will be endangered. The sad thing is that only a handful of misguided fools will profit from such ventures.

Louisette said...

Interesting article,
Oh the weather climat, in same country too dry, other too much water..
Have a nice sunday, Best regard from Belgium.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

As you know I'm in the natural gas industry. I have no knowledge of the particular items that you talk about but I can say that fracking is nothing new. It has been going on for years. What is new is the large scale fracking for shale reservoirs. I've been involved in hundreds of those wells and I'm not aware of any water pollution issues.
The gas in the water video from "Gasland" was from coal seam gas in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming that the film forgets to mention is not hydraulically fracked.

Anyways, like I said I have no knowledge or comment on the particular items you bring up except to say that I agree that governments need to be accountable to the citizens.