Ben Parfitt

Mon, 2011-11-14 12:16Carol Linnitt
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New Report: CCPA and the Wilderness Committee on BC's "Reckless" Desire to Frack

If British Columbia wants to pursue economic, environmental and human health then the province must slow its furious pace of unconventional gas production, says a new report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Wilderness Committee. The CAPP report, part of their partner Climate Justice Project with the University of British Columbia, concludes that BC’s natural gas sector is putting the industry’s needs before those of British Columbians, and doing so with the government’s help.

Ben Parfitt of the CCPA authored the report and has written extensively on the energy/water nexus surrounding BC’s shale gas boom. According to Parfitt, “BC’s shale gas production is the natural gas equivalent of Alberta’s oilsands oil.” The comparison is due to the tremendous water required to frack deep shale deposits, an extraction process that also releases dangerous amounts of methane, one of the most powerful global warming gasses.
 
As expanded in the report, Fracking Up Our Water, Hydro Power and Climate: BC’s Reckless Pursuit of Shale Gas, the unconventional gas industry enjoys exclusive access to the province’s pristine water resources and the government’s lax greenhouse gas (GHG) policy. Last year, the Pacific Institute for Climate Studies (PICS) announced that if BC wants to meet its climate targets, the regulatory regimes surrounding unconventional gas production must become significantly more strict and forward thinking. But despite such a warning, no meaningful administrative changes have been made to suggest the BC government is listening.
Sat, 2011-07-30 09:24Carol Linnitt
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Free Water for Fracking: B.C. Government Gives 20-Year Withdrawal Permit to Talisman

British Columbia is providing the gas industry with 78 million cubic meters of free water each year, according to a recent CBC article. That water, the equivalent to 31,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is used to hydraulically fracture, or frack, the Northeast portion of the province which is undergirded by a vast reservoir of unconventional gas. 

The B.C. government has recently added another 3.65 million cubic meters of water per year to that total by issuing an additional permit to Talisman Energy. The permit grants Talisman permission to withdrawal water from the Williston Reservoir, B.C.’s largest freshwater body, for 20 years. 

Historically, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) has granted short-term, temporary water withdrawal permits to the oil and gas industry, a process critics argued circumvented the environmental evaluation necessary for long-term permits. In this instance, Talisman has received one of the largest water withdrawal permits of its kind. 

Thu, 2011-06-09 10:58Carol Linnitt
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Gas Fracking War In British Columbia’s Wildlands

Independent Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in British Columbia are calling upon Premier Christy Clark to launch a comprehensive investigation into hydraulic fracturing. This demand comes late in the game, some say, after the world’s largest fracking operations have already taken place in the remote and pristine wilds of the province.

BC’s two Independent MLAs, Bob Simpson and Vicki Huntington, are not alone in their request for a full examination of the human and environmental health implications of the province’s unconventional gas resources. Supporting the appeal are numerous citizen and environmental groups, journalists, and First Nation’s representatives. They believe the rapid development of gas in BC’s north is taking place without consideration of the costs to public health and safety.

Tue, 2011-03-15 16:02Brendan DeMelle
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Shale Gas Industry Targeting B.C. Public Water Supplies For Fracking Boom

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.”

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