Independent MLAs call on Premier Christy Clark to investigate fracking


Cariboo North’s independent MLA is claiming that a “public policy vacuum” exists when it comes to the industrial process used to recover natural gas from deep rock formations.

That’s why Bob Simpson and fellow independent MLA Vicki Huntington (Delta South) have signed off on a letter to Premier Christy Clark asking that she launch an investigation into hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

During the fracking process, high volumes of water, chemicals, and sometimes sand are pumped deep underground, under high pressure, to fracture rock—usually shale—to enable the encased natural gas to rise to the surface.

Fracking is happening in B.C. already, but there are questions as to the environmental impacts of the water-intensive practice, especially on aquifers. Simpson and Huntington note that shale is particularly difficult to extract from, but in a depressed natural-gas market, incentives are offered to the industry by the provincial government to develop these areas.

Speaking by phone today (May 26), Simpson stressed that the letter to the premier, dated May 26, is not “accusatory” and does not “point fingers”.

“What we’ve done is, we’ve basically stripped the politics out,” Simpson told the Straight.

The two-page letter begins with the two MLAs saying they’re “heartened” by Clark’s purported willingness to engage MLAs “more directly in public policy formulation” through legislative committees.

At the end, the two MLAs note: “Having policymakers conduct this work as soon as possible through the use of a Special Committee of the Legislature is, in our estimation, the best means to avoid unnecessary conflict and public protest and to ensure that the public interest will be fully protected as B.C. develops its unconventional gas resources.”

Simpson and Huntington listed the following supporters in a news release that accompanied the letter:

Lori Hill, Peace Environment and Safety Trustees Society

Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations

Kathi Dickie, chief councillor, Fort Nelson First Nation

Rick Koechl, Old Hope Road Residents Group

Terry Webster, concerned citizen and Hudsons Hope city councillor

Ken Forest, Peace River resident and retired high-school principal

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

Ian Bruce, climate-change specialist, David Suzuki Foundation

Ben Parfitt, researcher, B.C. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Matt Horne, Pembina InstituteM

Will Koop, B.C. Tap Water Alliance

Ben West, Wilderness Committee

Casey Brennan, Wildsight

Karen Tam Wu, ForestEthics

Jennifer Rice, T.Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation

Shannon McPhail, Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition

Greg Knox, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust

Taylor Bachrach, municipal councillor, Telkwa

Rafe Mair, commonsense Canadian

Andrew Nikiforuk, writer and journalist

Roy Henry Vickers, artist

Comments (4) Add New Comment
R U Kiddingme
For a second there I was having Battlestar Galactica flashbacks.
Rating: 0
First Crusty will have to get that stunned look off her face from trying to BS everyone on the HST. Next someone will have to tell her fracking isn't a swear word.
Rating: -1
Mark Fornataro
I hope the NDP gets on board with this request for a probe into fracking.
Rating: -2
glen p robbins
On the matter of fresh water use alone this is a major issue - ranchers in Alberta can't get water they need - massive amounts of water to produce one barrel of oil - Alberta is mostly shale oil - and now multi billion dollar pipeline to Texax from that province is on the move---

from the point of social cost accounting this is a net loss business activity and very dirty dollars.

Good for the independents.
Rating: +1
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