What the Frack?
Fracking is a water-intensive process that poses numerous risks to Canada’s groundwater and surface water supplies. Without strong regulation, there is a high risk that water levels will be depleted at an unsustainable pace. Accessing shale rock uses a lot of energy and requires that wells be dug past the fresh water zone. Any cracks or damage to the protective barrier between the well wall and the protective casing risks water contamination – in fact, several incidents of contaminated domestic or drinking water wells have already been reported in the United States. There is currently no standardized procedure for the disposal of wastewater from this practice. This water is high in mineral and salt content, and also contains traces of chemicals and heavy metal particulates. As such, it must be dealt with properly.
Government-led investigations into the risks of this process are needed NOW, not after the industry has reached its full momentum. Up until this point, no Canadian federal or provincial regulators have taken a vocal stance on this issue. In fact, the National Energy Board has tended to downplay potential environmental impacts. The Canadian federal and provincial governments have a bad record of giving environmental assessment responsibilities for energy projects to industry regulators, rather than to environmental agencies. It is imperative that this doesn’t happen where shale gas production is concerned.
Fracking News and Resources:
Fracking, Shale Gas and Children's Health: Toxins and Vulnerable Populations Prevent Cancer Now, August 15, 2012
Nova Scotia delays Fracking decision for 2 years CBC News, April 17, 2012
Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream, and the fight against fracking, An Ounce e-Newsletter, Spring 2012
When Cowboys Cry: In today’s Wild West, energy corporations are the new outlaws, Orion Magazine, May/June 2012
A Rock and a Hard Place: The energy industry calls fracking a game changer. Environmentalists compare it to coal and oil., Walrus Magazine, December 2011
Fear of fracking: How public concerns put an energy renaissance at risk, Globe and Mail. March 9, 2012
Fracking, shale gas and cancer: Health risks at every step, An Ounce, Winter 2012
Ohioans Demand Fracking Moratorium at Ohio Statehouse Rally, January 10, 2012
Fracking likely linked to groundwater pollution in U.S. CBC News, December 8, 2011
Fracking operations increase risk of drinking water contamination: new study, Media Release, May 11, 2011
Shale Game: Playing with unknowns underground, Orion Magazine, June 2010
Fracking, shale gas and health: A case for precaution, An Ounce, Summer 2011
Fracture Lines: Will Canada’s water be protected in the shale gas rush?, Munk School of Global Affairs, October 2010
JUNE 4, 2012
In the three weeks since the #BlackOutSpeakOut campaign was launched by Canada’s leading environmental groups (Sierra Club Canada, CAPE, CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Equiterre, Greenpeace, Nature Canada, Pembina Institute, West Coast Environmental Law and WWF Canada) tens of thousands of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast have joined us!... Read more »
Submission to the Senate Committee on Energy
Re: Bill C-38
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
Thursday, May 31 201
... Read more »
We are just a week away from #BlackOutSpeakOut day (June 4th). I can tell you the campaign momentum is building! The list of participating organizations is over 100 and growing! Maude Barlow just told me The Council of Canadians is also joining the protest. All across the country Canadians are recognizing that silence is not an option in face of the war on nature and democracy.
This week here in Ottawa we have two events:
Event #1:... Read more »
It has been a busy few weeks here in Ottawa and across the country. People everywhere are talking about devastating changes to environmental law and regulation (Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and Fisheries Act) undemocratically crammed into the federal budget.... Read more »
Groups are slamming the federal Conservative government's plan to speed up the environmental review process, suggesting it will become a rubber stamp that won't protect the health and safety of Canadians.
"This is about bulldozing things through over the objection of people or without thinking it through," the Sierra Club's John Bennett told CTV's Power Play.
Streamlining the environmental review process was a key plank in the Tories' first majority government budget, released Thursday.
But Bennett, the executive director of the environment watchdog, said the changes will result in weaker environmental assessments, as well as projects being approved without a full understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts.... Read more »