Information on New Brunswick Rules on Fracking

2013-02-01

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February 2013 

General Concerns 

  • It is unclear in many ways who is in charge of regulating the industry and most measures in regulations involve self-reporting, industry self-monitoring and assessment. 
  • Liability limits are too low: $10 million if you have prove negligence or malfeasance, $500,000 cap on compensations for water contamination (other forms of damage like air quality, decreased property value from noise, etc, not included or mentioned) for property owners, $50,000 per well security for not plugging a well properly or abandoning it - but the damage could be more than this - also, they get the assurances back as soon as they abandon the well (what if leaks are found afterward?). 
  • Fracking companies can wait 3 months (90 days) after they drill to start checking to see if gas has migrated from the drill hole. 
  • The process to get to these regulations did not include thorough public consultations. 

 

Water Amount Concerns 

  • No limit is placed on the amount of water that can be used per well. 

 

Water Contamination Concerns 

  • No areas of the province declared too significant not to frack - like areas that supply public drinking water, significant ecosystems. 
  • Setbacks of wellpads: 100 m from wetlands/watercourse; 500 m from wellhead of any drinking water supply, 250 from shoreline of public water supply; 250 m from intake for a water supply. 
  • Operators do own geological assessment to determine if fracking is likely to contaminate groundwater/ cause gas leaks. 
  • Fracking companies have to test your well before fracking, and they'll let you know in writing if your well water is found to be contaminated and give you some fact sheets if toxins are present. 

 

Chemical Concerns 

  • No chemical declared off limits, no level of toxicity of frack fluids off limits. 
  • Fracking companies do need to reveal what chemical they will use to frack, but still have the "propriety information" loophole (which means companies can claim that to release to the public the chemicals they use, they could give their competitive edge to other companies). 
  • The export of fracking waste (solid and liquid) is still an option. 
  • The operator will do OWN risk assessments on fracking fluids, they recommend using a technology devel-oped by the oil and gas lobby. 
  • The list of things they are told to test for in fracking waste is not complete, given the fact that hundreds of chemicals may be used. Health Canada and Environment Canada have not yet completed their risk assess-ments or even have a complete list of chemicals currently used in fracking. 

 

Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases 

  • The New Brunswick government is relying on the federal government to regulate industry, which we hear recently could occur as soon as 2016. 
  • The operator itself is asked to investigate complaints about gas leaks etc. at above 10% of the limit of gases that can cause an explosion, they need to tell the regulator in 24 hours and then then submit a re-port on their repairs in 3 days. If you can't get a government official in office hours they are supposed to call the Coast Guard. 

 

Human Safety Concerns 

  • The New Brunswick Government suggests that if any citizens feel unsafe the government encourages them to call 911. 
  • Sierra Club Atlantic Canada Chapter thinks New Brunswickers Should Not Feel Safer Under Leaky Fracking Rules. 
  • Most of participants in hydraulic fracturing consultations wanted a moratorium or a ban on the practice; other jurisdictions (like New York, Quebec, France) have banned it or place moratorium on it. 

 

 

 

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