Regulator, Encana sued over fracking, water
Vancouver-based environmental law firm ecojustice announced a lawsuit Wednesday in BC court against the province’s oil and gas regulator over its allegedly unlawful issuance of water permits for fracking.
The suit, which also names energy giant Encana, is being brought on behalf of the Wilderness Committee and Sierra Club BC over increasingly controversial shale gas operations in northeast BC. It contends that the Oil and Gas Commission is violating the province’s Water Act.
Fracking is enormously water-intensive, which is of particular concern given recent drought conditions in the region and plans to dramatically increase fracking to supply proposed liquefied natural gas terminals on BC’s coast. Noted Sierra Club BC’s Caitlyn Vernon:
The case comes on the eve of Friday’s deadline for public feedback for the updating of BC’s century-old Water Act. The Wilderness Committee’s Eoin Madden is concerned that discussion around the new Act is largely avoiding avoiding the elephant in the room – fracking. “We’re very eager to see that the oil and gas industry is covered by the Water Sustainability Act, but there’s been a conspicuous non-reference to [water].”
Lead counsel on the case, Karen Campbell, believes this legal action could help shape shale gas policy in the new Act.
The OGC and Encana have 21 days to file a response to the case. Said Campbell, “Beyond that, we’re hoping to get this case in for a court hearing as soon as possible, but likely it’s going to be sometime in the new year.”