Shale Gas Industry Targeting B.C. Public Water Supplies For Fracking Boom

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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The Tyee’s Ben Parfitt has a must-read piece today focusing on the huge amounts of drinking water that the shale gas industry is drawing from public water resources for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. It describes the efforts of Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy to secure long-term licenses that would allow the gas industry to draw from B.C.’s public water supplies for years and possibly decades with little thought about water stewardship. 

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission – the same agency charged with regulating the gas industry – is consulting with the industry without public input or information sharing with key water stewardship officials.

Gas companies are currently sourcing most of their water needs for fracking from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) through temporary permits. The Tyee notes that the gas industry “has a unique advantage over all other water users in the province in that it can get water from its own dedicated regulator.”

While the gas companies have a seat at the table – along with B.C. Hydro – important decisions on water allocations are being made behind closed doors without the public’s awareness or input, particularly local First Nations that are legally owed consultation on any adverse impacts from oil and gas.

It turns out that OGC “has routinely elected not to forward energy company water application to First Nations prior to granting companies access to water,” and only revealed them after information requests were filed.

Head over to the Tyee to read more in “Our Water Secretly Sucked Away by Shale Gas Industry.

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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