Ottawa – The controversial pra
ctice of hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, is facing mounting opposition across the country. A new Environics Research poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians has found that 62% of Canadians support “a moratorium on all fracking for natural gas until all the federal environmental reviews are complete”.
“Communities across Canada are saying ‘no’ to fracking projects. It’s time for the federal government to ban the practice,” says Maude Barlow, national chairperson, Council of Canadians. “The federal government should at the very least initiate a moratorium while conducting reviews on the serious consequences of fracking.”
Fracking is a contentious method of extracting unconventional natural gas, primarily shale gas. The technique involves the injection of millions of litres of water and thousands of litres of unidentified chemicals underground at very high pressure in order to create fractures in the underlying rock formations to extract the trapped gas.
“There are 20-30 groups working independently and collaboratively to ban shale gas exploration and development in New Brunswick. The many risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) far outweigh any potential benefits. No matter how robust or stringent the regulations promised by our government, compliance cannot be adequately monitored or controlled to ensure that this process can be done safely. And, as has frequently happened in the US, the industry rides roughshod over the regulations, pays whatever fines are levied against it, and continues on. They call it: “acceptable cost of doing business”, says Carol Ring with the Saint John Chapter of the Council of Canadians.
THE POLL RESULTS INDICATE A 66% STRONG SUPPORT FOR A MORATORIUM ON FRACKING IN THE ATLANTIC.
Fracking for unconventional gas is rapidly expanding in almost every province across Canada. In addition to making local water flammable due to methane pollution, there have been numerous occasions of earthquakes near fracking sites. Fracking wastewater at numerous sites in the US is too radioactive for water treatment plants to cope with safely. 90% of fracking worldwide takes place in North America.
There is currently no federal legislation on fracking. Regulations on water and drilling permits vary from province to province. Oil and gas wells are exempt from the National Pollutant Release Inventory. Environment Canada reviewed chemicals used in the process in Quebec and the US and found that approximately half did not meet the Chemicals Management Plan criteria for further investigation.
Council of Canadians members and chapter activists have been at the forefront of local campaigns to stop this dangerous industry and protect their water from toxic chemical and methane contamination resulting from the fracking process. Also announced Monday, the Council launched the Fracker Tracker, a web-map that will help track fracking threats across the country. The Council of Canadians is urging people from coast to coast to sign the petition to stop fracking at www.canadians.org/fracking.
The Environics Research survey was conducted by telephone among a national random sample of 2,000 adults comprising 1000 males and 1000 females 18 years of age and older, living in Canada. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 2.19%, 19 times out of 20. Interviewing for this Environics National Telephone Omnibus Survey was completed during the period: January 5 – 15, 2012. For more details, please see www.canadians.org/fracking.