Category Archives: Water and Hydrocarbons

Oil Pipeline, Tanker Spills not a ‘Risk’ but a Certainty


Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad. It looks like the gods are doing just that with the Premier and her government.

What I’ve seen the past several weeks forces me to ask, Madame Premier: Is that thing on your shoulders just for photo-ops?

For starters. Is the Kitsilano Search and Rescue Centre really a bargaining chip with the federal government over the Enbridge pipeline proposal? Do you really believe that David Black’s proposed refinery is going to make things better? That 3 pipelines carrying bitumen are safer than two?

I’ve got to say it, Premier: you don’t know a damned thing about pipelines and tankers.

Do you not understand that the rupture of a pipeline or “accident” with a tanker is mathematically inevitable? That we’re not talking risks but certainties? Your friends in the business community like to call these things “risks” in order to convince people that they’re not likely to happen. Think on this, Premier – if an accident is not going to happen, why make multimillion dollar facilities to clean them up?

The theorem is not that something can be an “acceptable risk” but that an “ongoing risk” is a certainty waiting to happen. You simply must understand this, Premier, or you are selling out the Province. As they say, shit happens.

You would have laughed, as we all would have on March 21, 2006, to think that a BC Ferry would sink, yet the following day that is just what happened.

Prior to June, 2012, we would all have scoffed at the thought that a luxury liner, on a fine day, would sink, causing several deaths and injuries.

Having agreed on that, we must assess what the damage will be. With an airplane we know that. When we get on a plane we’re betting on the odds being in our favour, but the fact that there will be crashes is a certainty. We are also prepared to concede that if our jet crashes, we’ll be dead.

If we’re to be honest, Premier, what we’re asking is not what are the odds of this happening, since we know that it will. As long as human beings are involved, there will be human error. It’s not a matter if airplanes will crash but what are the odds on it happening, say, in a month.

It is the same with pipelines and tankers – we know that these calamities are certainties but today nothing will likely happen. Even if we disagree on the odds, that doesn’t alter the fact that it will happen. We are only really calculating when or how often – the same thing an insurance company does, or we do when we bet on the odds at the race track.

Knowing the inevitable, we must now consider the consequences. It’s rather like calculating how long you can put to your head a revolver with 100 chambers and one bullet and keep pulling the chamber. You know you’ll kill yourself – the only mystery being when. If, however, you don’t put a bullet in the chamber, but marshmallow instead, you don’t care, for you won’t be hurt.

We’re not talking marshmallow here.

With oil spills and tankers, we know that the result, whenever it happens, will be hideous, catastrophic. With diluted bitumen (dilbit), there is no such thing as a small accident and you and your government must begin to understand that.

Now, to cleanup. The fact is that there is little that can be done except to the stuff you can see and access and even then very little.

I hope you know about the Enbridge “accident” in Michigan at the Kalamazoo River in July 2010. This spill was described as “not serious” by the government but it hasn’t been cleaned up yet!

Where our pipelines spill, it will not be easy to access for men and machines. Look at the proposed routes. When a spill occurs in the Rockies, the Rocky Mountain Trench, the Coast Range or the Great Bear Rainforest, how the hell are you going to get there? So you are faced with the facts that spills of dilbit are catastrophic and with our proposed pipelines you can’t get to them.

Just what makes you think that David Black’s proposed refinery will make things better?

It will be bringing bitumen from the same tar sands over the same terrain as the proposed Enbridge pipeline. The only possible plus is that instead of dumping dilbit into the ocean it will be refined oil, just like the Exxon Valdez did.

It’s been said that the Kinder Morgan line has been safe. I put this to Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace and an authority on these matters and here’s what he says:

• There have been a number of incidents related to the Trans Mountain pipeline – including the spill in Burnaby in 2007. Trans Mountain Pipeline (Kinder Morgan) pleaded guilty pleas to a 21-count indictment in B.C. Provincial Court.

• In 2009, oil spilled from Kinder Morgan’s oil Westridge terminal in Burnaby.

• There was another spill in January, 2012, near Abbotsford at Kinder Morgan’s tank farm. In that case, the National Energy Board charged that Trans Mountain Pipeline operators ignored warning alarms, spilling 90,000 litres of bitumen crude oil.

• Just a few months later, the same Abbotsford facility was home to yet another spill.

That’s 5 spills in this region in the last 6 years. There have been more – over 70 spills along the whole Trans Mountain Pipeline route since it began operation in the 1950s.

Below is an interesting video that discusses the 2007 spill, and the extreme problems with Bitumen.

Premier Clark, you owe it to your province to deal with the issues raised – not with industry slogans and bullshit, but with logic and facts. It’s getting late.


The Fracking Mess


Since international agreements have been unable to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions — 20 years of negotiations and effort have resulted in emissions going up rather than down — those concerned about global warming had hoped that the anticipated decline in petroleum supplies would force a solution. If the availability of accessible oil and natural gas were to dwindle, nations everywhere would be compelled to find energy sources that were less carbon intensive. But fracking has put an end to that hope.

The relatively new technique of “hydraulic fracturing”, a process of drilling horizontally in shale beds and then breaking the rock by injecting a concoction of water, sand and toxic chemicals under extreme pressure, is releasing huge quantities of oil and natural gas. In addition to polluting a subterranean frontier, the global result is a total reconfiguration of the energy equation.

The economic effects are the most obvious. Natural gas is flooding the energy markets in North America and Europe, and is likely to do so elsewhere. Fracking is releasing massive amounts of natural gas in the US, reducing the price below production costs and undermining the market value of Canadian exports of gas. The economic result for BC and Alberta is a collapse of royalties to governments. And low natural gas prices may threaten the economic viability of gas lines and LNG plants planned for BC’s West Coast.

The same economic dynamic is occurring with oil. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the success of fracking could make an oil-starved America into the world’s largest producer by 2020, and a net exporter by 2030. This reduced dependence on foreign oil questions the Canadian government’s wisdom of relying on the export of petroleum resources as the country’s principal economic plan. It also casts doubt on the viability of the energy-intensive methods used to extract oil from the tar sands.

These new supplies of domestic oil in the US and other countries are likely to change global geopolitics. Saudi Arabia, for example, may lose its privileged position in the global energy equation, and thereby lose the Western support that has been key to its political security. China and India might make moves to replace the West as the strategic friend of existing oil producers. Meanwhile, generous oil supplies will reduce its market price, thereby encouraging world economic activity and further eroding the only effective incentive that has reduced oil consumption, cut carbon dioxide emissions and slowed global climate change.

So the fracking that has become the solution to shortages of gas and oil now presents a host of problems that will ultimately be far more serious than the challenge of slowly weaning our modern civilization from petroleum. “The climate goal of limiting warming to 2°C is becoming more difficult and more costly with each year that passes,” notes the IEA.

The reality is that we are running out of manoeuvring room. “Four-fifths of all carbon emissions that are supposed to be allowed by 2035 to keep warming below two degrees Celsius are already locked into power plants, factories and buildings,” writes Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe and Mail (Nov. 21/12). “If strong action is not taken by 2017, all the emissions necessary to keep warming below that level will be locked in,” he adds. Global consumption of oil, thanks to fracking, is expected to rise a third by 2035, driving “the long-term average global temperature increase to 3.6 degrees Celsius” (Ibid.).

We are already feeling the impact of global temperature increases of 0.8°C. An increase of over four-times this amount would have environmental consequences that we can scarcely imagine. George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian Weekly (Oct 26/12) provides a hint. “A paper this year by the world’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen, shows that the frequency of extremely hot events…has risen by a factor of about 50 in comparison with the decades before 1980. Forty years ago, extreme summer heat typically affected between 0.1% and 0.2% of the globe. Today it scorches some 10%.”

Ocean levels are already rising, causing coastal US cities such as Norfolk, Virginia, to flood regularly from heavy rainfall and small storm surges. Although the disasters that recently befell New Orleans and New York cannot be attributed specifically to global climate change, weather modelling suggests that such events will likely become so commonplace that smashed and flooded coastal cities will appear in lists rather than individually. Severe droughts and storms would become almost too routine to be news. All but the most extreme of the extreme weather events would just be dismissed with generalizations such as “just another bad day on Earth”.

Climatology tells us that during the last 10,000 years we have been living in one of the most benign, stable and accommodating periods in all of human history. Our global civilization is founded upon this predictable comfort. Our cities crowd shorelines because these locations have been safe and convenient. Our food production is based on mild and rhythmical weather. Our renewable resources depend upon a regular climate for regeneration. We alter this normalcy at our peril.

The carbon dioxide we are adding to the atmosphere is now occurring at a rate six times faster than the most rapid natural emissions of any geological epoch of which we know — we are doing in 500 years what nature once did in 3,000 years. This single, traumatic past event caused one of the planet’s most disastrous biological extinctions. Put simply, a future created by excessive carbon dioxide emissions is not going to be comfortable or promising.

Our ingenuity is not an asset if it is used to solve the wrong problems. Indeed, if the biggest threat now confronting us is caused by burning petroleum as our principal energy source, then the more we do to find and use this fuel, the worse our problem becomes. In a future review of our history, we will likely conclude that fracking created a bigger mess than it solved.


NDP Op-ed: Party Committed to Review of Fracking, Tougher Regulations


Read this op-ed by the BC NDP’s Energy Critic John Horgan and Environment Critic Rob Flemming, promising a tougher stance on natural gas fracking and related water issues. (Dec 13, 2012)

British Columbia needs to have a strong environmental lens guiding the development of our energy resources.  As we transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy, we must recognize the need for the responsible development of existing energy sources. 


While British Columbia has a well-established natural gas industry and an existing network of natural gas pipelines, we must approach further expansion with care.

New Democrats have met with First Nations, local governments, and residents throughout northeast B.C. While there are questions and concerns about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, there is also much agreement that extraction and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects can be done with greater consideration for environmental protection.

That’s why Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats have put forward a plan that we believe will ensure long-term sustainability and environmental stewardship, greater public accountability, and best practices in the industry, particularly when it comes to fracking.

The first point of our plan would be to appoint an expert panel to conduct a broad public review of fracking, including public hearings and consultations with First Nations, local communities, industry, environmental groups, and citizens. The panel will ensure British Columbians get B.C.-specific information they can trust.

Second, we would make immediate changes to protect B.C.’s water resources, including consolidating authority for water licensing within one public body; improving water mapping, monitoring and public reporting; and reviewing current water pricing practices.

Many British Columbians are raising valid questions and concerns about water use and the impacts of fracking. Our call for a review of water management stands in stark contrast to the B.C. Liberal government, which has largely failed to put the necessary protections in place.

The B.C. Liberal government has dragged its feet on introducing the Water Sustainability Act which promised to “respond to current and future pressures on water, and position B.C. as a leader in water stewardship.” While draft legislation was promised years ago, it likely won’t see the light of day before the end of the Liberals’ term in office.

A number of B.C. First Nations are in favour of supporting LNG development under the right circumstances. For example, while the Fort Nelson First Nation has criticized the Liberal government for “irresponsible, unsustainable water use” in the shale gas industry, they acknowledge the economic benefits of the natural gas industry and believe “that shale gas development can occur without full-scale damage to our rivers, lakes, and streams”.

Our plan would also include extending funding for the Farmers’ Advocate office to ensure landowners in the natural gas fields have the credible, independent support they need to deal with the gas industry.

And finally, we must find ways to align expansion in gas development and greenhouse gas emissions with the targets set out in the province’s Climate Action Plan. The Liberals have largely failed to take responsibility on this front, opting instead to change the definition of what constitutes “clean” energy rather than tackle the tough issues.

New Democrats can support LNG exports while opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline because LNG is a much safer alternative to oil. While any incident would be a major concern, the safety record of gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and LNG tankers shows there have been very few leaks. And unlike raw bitumen, which would cause a devastating environmental catastrophe in the case of a major spill off B.C.’s north coast, liquefied natural gas would evaporate and dissipate.

A New Democrat government would approach the development of safer, cleaner energy sources in an environmentally-responsible way. By subjecting each project to a rigorous environmental assessment and having the proper protections in place, we would make certain the best interests of our province are represented. This will enhance our economic development and indigenous peoples’ self-determination, and create a sustainable environment for the future.

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Cracks in Scientific Study Downplaying Risks of Fracking – Lead Scientist on Board of Energy Company


Read this story from Mark Hume in the Globe and Mail on the scandal that is rocking the natural gas fracking industry. A Texas-based scientist who published a report downplaying the risks of fracking has been discovered to be on the board of an energy company – a conflict he chose not to disclose to journalists at a conference in Vancouver where he unveiled his findings. (Dec. 9, 2012)

When the research team from the University of Texas at Austin took the stage at the Vancouver Convention Centre early this year, they knew they had a big audience.

Journalists from around the world were attending the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting and many of them had come to the press conference, where a new study on the environmental impacts of fracking was to be released.

Across North America, including in British Columbia where gas exploration is booming, the industry has been under intense scrutiny. One concern is that groundwater is contaminated when a chemical-laced slurry is injected deep underground, to release gas by fracturing rock formations.

Charles Groat, of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, promised big news on that front. And he didn’t disappoint, delivering a definitive statement that the widely held environmental concerns about fracking were simply unfounded.

“The bottom line [is that] we found no direct evidence that hydraulic fracturing itself – the practice of fracturing the rocks – had contaminated shale groundwater or was causing concerns,” said Dr. Groat at the February event.

That was then. Now a review panel appointed by the University of Texas has taken a hard look at Dr. Groat’s report, and has concluded his study “fell short of contemporary standards for scientific work.”

Not only was the work suspect, reported the panel, but Dr. Groat himself was in a troubling conflict of interest.

“In studies of controversial topics, such as the impact on public health and the environment potentially stemming from shale-gas hydraulic fracturing, credibility hinges upon full disclosure of any potential conflicts of interest by all participants and upon rigorous, independent reviews of findings. This study failed in both regards,” stated the panel, which released its findings Friday.

“Dr. Groat, failed to disclose his material financial relationship as a member of the board of directors of Plains Exploration and Production, a gas exploration and development company,” stated the panel, which was appointed to investigate after a non-profit group, the Public Accountability Initiative, raised questions about the independence of the research.

“When asked at the [Vancouver] press conference … about the independence of the work … [Dr. Groat] replied, ‘This study was funded entirely by University of Texas funds,’ not taking the opportunity to comment on his own financial interests,” stated the review panel.

The Globe and Mail and other major media covering that press conference reported that the University of Texas had found there was no evidence to support concerns that fracking damages groundwater.

“You were misled,” said Kevin Connor, director of the Public Accountability Initiative, who raised questions on Dr. Groat’s conflict. “The science isn’t there.”

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This map from the David Suzuki Foundation's recent report shows all human-driven change to the Peace Region (buffered by 500 m) in red.

New Suzuki Foundation Report Shows Staggering Longterm Industrial Impacts on Peace Region


Roads, dams, logging, mines, fracking, seismic lines, pipelines, transmission lines. The Peace Valley region in northeast BC has seen its share of industrial development over the past half century. Now, a new report from the David Suzuki Foundation vividly illustrates the toll these cumulative impacts have taken on the land.

The foundation commissioned scientists from Global Forest Watch Canada to survey 40 years worth of satellite images in order track the increasing industrialization of the land. They found that over that span, more than 65% of the region has been impacted by industry – often involving different activities layered on top of each other – leaving little intact wilderness.

“Our study found that there are 16,267 oil and gas wells, 28,587 kilometres of pipeline, 45,293 kilometres of roads, and 116,725 kilometres of seismic lines packed into the Peace Region. If laid end to end, the roads, pipelines and seismic lines would wrap around the planet an astonishing four and a half times,” said Peter Lee, who led the research study.

Far from being a thing of the past, this industrialization of the region continues marching forward, with the proposed Site C Dam, new coal mines, and continued logging, fracking and other impacts. All this occurs atop important habitat for threatened populations of grizzly and caribou and amid sensitive boreal forest critical to carbon absorption and sequestration.

The Suzuki Foundation is supporting the work by Treaty 8 First Nations, farmers and conservationists to oppose Site C Dam, which would be the third dam on the Peace River. Representatives of these groups recently came to Vancouver and shared their message with local media.

“Enough is enough,” West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson told The Vancouver Sun. “We need to slow down. It’s more important to maintain the integrity of what’s there than put it under water…all to expand the industrial footprint.”

Said Dr. Faisial Moola of the Suzuki Foundation in a blog on the report’s release, “If built, Site C would flood 3,173 ha of prime farmland and destroy sensitive wildlife habitat.”

“That’s why the David Suzuki Foundation is standing with local farmers and ranchers, as well as the Dunne Zaa/Dane zaa First Nations, to oppose further destruction of this productive, ecologically important and picturesque valley with the construction of the Site C Dam and reservoir.”

Download the full report here.

Damien Gillis is co-directing a documentary, Fractured Land, which examines these issues in detail. Learn how you can support the film here.


Audio: Damien Gillis Talks Chinese FIPA, Fracking, Water on Nanaimo Radio


Damien Gillis appeared recently on Nanaimo’s CHLY Radio to discuss a number of key political and energy issues in Canada. Gillis and host Rae Kornberger of A Sense of Justice cover the controversial proposed Canada-China trade deal and how that relates to energy and environmental issues in BC particularly. Included amongst these is natural gas fracking in northeast BC and the enormous volumes of fresh water required for these operations. Listen to the interview in two parts – as well as one highlight clip dealing with proposed water licences for fracking. (recorded Nov. 28, 2012)

Highlight Clip: Water Licences for Fracking (6 min)

Full Interview – Part 1: Chinese FIPA

Full Interview – Part 2: Water, Fracking and Fort Nelson First Nation


Vancouver Sun Op-Ed: Rush to Deplete BC’s Gas Reserves Makes No Sense


Read this op-ed in the Vancouver Sun by Ben Parfitt of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and renowned geologist and energy expert David Hughes, calling into question the BC Liberal Government’s policy for dramatically expanding natural gas development. (Nov. 14, 2012)

British Columbia is no petro state. So why do our political leaders insist that we are a global energy power?

At the University of Calgary last month, Premier Christy Clark boldly asserted that B.C. could one day export four trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, an amount that would put us on par with the output of Alberta’s oilsands industry.

Clark also said that over the next 30 years such exports “could add over a trillion dollars” to our province’s gross domestic product.

These sound like impressive numbers. But drill into them a bit, and they appear to be overstated, which raises critical questions.

What does exporting four trillion cubic feet of gas per year from B.C. actually mean, when viewed against what we have? What would the economic, energy security and climate consequences be of producing all that gas and more?

Consider the following facts.

Last year, B.C. produced a record 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — among the most water-depleting and energy-draining gas on earth, due to the deployment of highly controversial fracking technology.

The bulk of that gas went to Alberta to assist in the most water-depleting and energy-draining oil production on Earth. The next biggest slice went to the United States. What was left we used here in the province.

Presumably, we would not simply shut off the taps on these markets in the event that five new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals are built on our coast, and we begin shipping four trillion cubic feet of our gas to China, Japan and elsewhere. The government’s energy policies would therefore see gas extraction rates quintuple in northeastern B.C. — and probably a whole lot more because natural gas will likely be burned to power all those LNG plants.

What not enough of us have asked the government about is what such policies mean in terms of depleting our non-renewable fossil fuel resources and undermining our ability to meet our legislated greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

Now is the time to do so. Here’s why.

According to British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission, our current reserves of natural gas total roughly 33 trillion cubic feet. Based on our premier’s projections of 4 trillion cubic feet per year of gas exports, we’d drain our entire reserves in just 8 years, or less if we continued to supply our own needs and those of our existing customers.

Now the likelihood is that we have far more gas. Estimated total resources for B.C. exceed 1,200 trillion cubic feet. But even optimistically assuming we can successfully extract one quarter of those resources, we’d be completely out of gas in 75 years — that is if we exported it all and left nothing for ourselves or for our neighbours.

Speaking of neighbours, Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board projects a 35 per cent decline in its own gas production over the next decade. And according to Canada’s National Energy Board, total Canadian natural gas production is down nearly 20% today from its peak in 2002.

The only western Canadian jurisdiction whose reserves and production show growth is here in B.C. And our elected leaders’ vision is that we rush whatever we have out of the country.
Premier Clark and B.C. Energy Minister, Rich Coleman, call their gas export plans a “strategy”. Their choice of wording is an insult both to the English language and to basic economics.

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Timelapse Animations Reveal Staggering Water Withdrawals, Industrial Activity for Fracking


Watch these timelapse animations of recent water withdrawals and industrial activity in Fort Nelson First Nation traditional territory for natural gas hydraulic fracturing. These short term licenses were all issued without public or First Nations consultation. Courtesy of FNFN Lands Dept. and mapper Bobby Concepcion.


American Gas Firm Launching $250 Million NAFTA Challenge to Quebec Fracking Ban


Read this story from the Globe and Mail on US energy firm Lone Pine Resources’ forthcoming NAFTA challenge regarding lost economic opportunities resulting from Quebec’s ban on natural gas hydraulic fracturing. (Nov. 15, 2012)

A U.S.-incorporated energy firm, Lone Pine Resources Inc., is taking on Quebec’s stand against fracking, saying it violates the North American free-trade agreement and demanding more than $250-million in compensation.

Lone Pine Resources Inc., headquartered in Calgary but incorporated in Delaware, disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week that on Nov. 8, it filed a notice of intent to sue the Canadian government under NAFTA’s controversial Chapter 11.

Those provisions of the trade treaty allow U.S. and Mexican companies to sue Ottawa if they feel they have been wronged by a government policy or action.

Lone Pine is just one of many major natural gas companies affected by Quebec’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injecting liquids deep into the ground. Fracking has been controversial over fears for its effects on the environment and drinking water, and has been banned in several European countries. The industry says that done properly, it is safe.

According to Lone Pine, Quebec passed legislation last June that, in addition to the moratorium, also completely cancelled permits for oil and gas activity in areas directly below the waters of the St. Lawrence River – including the revoking of a permit held by Lone Pine covering 33,460 acres.”

Company spokesman Shane Abel said in an interview that Quebec’s legislation denies the company any compensation for the loss of its permit.

“We think that the expropriation is arbitrary and without merit,” he said. “… We think that’s a clear violation of the NAFTA agreement.”

The NAFTA challenge, levelled at a major environmental policy, is fuel for critics of trade deals who are now attacking Canada’s proposed investor-protection agreement with China, which would extend similar rights to Chinese investors in Canada.

“It contradicts everything the government has said about the China investment treaty, about it having no impact on the environment and there being no threats to non-discriminatory environmental measures,” said Stuart Trew, trade campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

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Fort Nelson First Nation Pushes for Shale Gas Water Licence Reform


Read this story by Mark Hume in the Globe and Mail on Fort Nelson First Nation’s concerns about long-term water withdrawal licence applications for shale gas development in their territory in northeast BC. (Nov. 13, 2012)

Kanute Loe, an elder with a small native band in northeast British Columbia, measures the impact of the gas industry on the environment by looking at the water levels dropping in the streams and rivers he fishes.

“I spend a lot of my time in the bush. I travel the rivers … there’s creeks that there’s no water coming out of,” he said Tuesday.

“All of a sudden we’re having trouble catching fish … Our rivers are getting harder to navigate … it’s almost like somebody drilled a hole in the bottom of the bathtub,” Mr. Loe said in Vancouver at a news conference to express aboriginal concerns about increasing water extraction by industry.

Sharleen Wildeman, chief of the Fort Nelson First Nation, said her band has grown alarmed at the growing needs of the gas industry, which draws water from streams, lakes and rivers. The water is mixed with sand and chemicals in a slurry that is injected deep under ground. The process, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, breaks up shale structures and releases gas deposits.

Ms. Wildeman, whose 800-member band is located near the booming Horn River gas fields, said industry in that area has 20 long-term water licence applications before the B.C. government. If those licences are approved, she said, it would authorize industry to withdraw “tens of billions of litres of water annually” for up to 40 years, for use in fracking operations.

“We are extremely concerned about a massive giveaway of water from our rivers and lakes, without any credible process identifying what the long-term impacts will be,” she said.

Ms. Wildeman is upset with a government consultation process “that has stalled,” and she said the band is demanding five conditions be met before any new water licences are approved.

She said the band wants baseline environmental studies done before licences are issued; multi-year development plans filed in advance to identify proposed water sources, gas-well sites, roads and camps; environmental plans that cap water withdrawals at ecologically acceptable levels; protection of culturally significant land and water resources, and an agreement that environmental impact monitoring and enforcement will be done by an independent body.

“Failure to embrace these fundamental reforms will lead to increasing yet avoidable conflict,” Ms. Wildeman said.

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