BC's Lust for Fracking Revenue Threatens the Water Quality and Safety of One of the World's Last Great Watersheds

Map of BC's fracking fiasco

The Pembina Institute report on the BC's gas industry's water use explores the known and potential impacts to water resources from shale gas extraction in BC. Pembina calculates that a single operator in the Horn Basin could use eight billion litres of water per year and there are many already operating in the Horn, Laird, Montery and Cordova Basins. Most of the drilling activity has been concentrated in two main deposits: the Montney Basin near Dawson Creek, and the Horn River Basin near Fort Nelson so far. Already though as Ben Parfitt, an analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, says, "We are seeing some of the largest fracking operations anywhere on earth."

Fracking is the practice of hydraulic fracturing or the blasting of deep rock formations with high-pressured slurry or water, sand and a mysterious mixture of toxic chemicals. Drilling rigs inject millions of gallons of water into well bores two miles deep that then angle or deviate horizontally another kilometre underground, then break up the rock with up to 40,000 units of horsepower. The Pembina Institute report says, "The British Columbia government has no way to fully appraise the risks that shale gas development may create for water resources in the province."

Considering the potential contamination of well water and subsequently profound human health concerns there definitely is concern on the part of people living in northeast B.C. “The introduction of shale gas extraction and hydraulic fracking methods in British Columbia could present the largest and most destructive industrial force that our waters have ever known,” warns a petition by the Fort Nelson First Nation with over 24,000 signatures. The series of articles titled 'Shale Gas: Myth and Realities' by Andrew Nikiforuk that tackles the spurious claims of the fracking industry is great primer for everyone. There's also lots more great in-depth info about the fracking issue and the worldwide environmental opposition to it here at ReEdit.

The Pembina Institute report [and others it sites] talk about surface and sub-surface water contamination in the geographic areas of northeast BC, about the dangers to potable water rights on farms, ranches, and municipal systems in that broad area and they mention the threat to the area's rivers. The Horn, Laird, Montery and Cordova Basins are the head waters of the Peace, Laird, Fort Nelson and Hay rivers all of which are part of the Mackenzie River's 1,805,200 square kilometre watershed The Mackenzie River is the largest and longest river system in Canada and is considered one of the largest and most intact ecosystems in North America encompassing nearly 20% of the country.

BC's  politicians, both Liberal and NDP, seem willing to allow the pollution of one of the world's last remaining intact ecospheres for what? As yesterday's report, and so many others, clearly show this boondoggle will never make money and as science shows it's only a matter of when, not if, a catastrophic seepage of toxic chemicals gets into the MacKenzie River watershed. Once the toxic chemical genie gets out it can't be put back that's why Quebec, Vermont and Maryland in the US as well as South Africa, France and Bulgaria have banned fracking and why Germany on the verge of doing the same despite discoveries of shale gas under all of their territories.

Money to buy the necessities of life is one thing, but taking the lives of countless innocent creatures so a few greedy bastards can get temporarily richer is disgusting. More tomorrow when The Mud Report will outline how Canada's ridiculous limited liability laws mean that not only won't the LNG fiasco turn a 'profit' in the short term but that inevitably in the long term BC's taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of $billions. .