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