Activist Will Koop wants B.C. to ban fracking

A local advocate for clean drinking water is calling on the provincial government to ban the high-pressure rock-splitting process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”.

Will Koop, coordinator of the B.C. Tap Water Alliance, told the Straight his citizens’ group wants to put a stop to this industrial technique, which involves the injection of water and additives into the ground to extract natural gas. The group’s Web site states that it aims “to help advocate the end of impairing and poisoning North America’s and the Earth’s fresh water aquifers by the oil & gas industry complex”.

“So, there are a number of people in the United States who are calling for a ban on fracking because of this,” Koop said. “And that’s what we’re calling for as well.”

He added, “What it does is it injects with high volumes of water with chemicals; it’s allowed to punch through what otherwise would be very difficult to do. What this procedure does, aside from the use of toxics, it compromises the integrity of aquifer caverns.”

Jake Jacobs, spokesperson for the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, denied the Straight an interview with Minister Blair Lekstrom.

Lois Hill, a board member for the citizens’ group Peace Environment and Safety Trustees, doesn’t necessarily agree with a ban.

“I would probably ask for more transparency and regulation before I would ask for a complete outright ban on fracking,” Hill told the Straight by phone from her home in Farmington in northeastern B.C. “We’re not against developing the gas fields, but we want to be safe. The way it stands right now, the companies are not required—they are protected by law and not required—to divulge what is in frack fluids.”

Koop said that B.C.’s government, like those in the U.S., is fixated on revenue from the oil and gas sector.

“Our position is that this is irrelevant, because no one should tolerate the use and application of chemical poisons into freshwater systems,” he said.

Mike Dawson, president of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas, did not return the Straight’s call by deadline.



Armand Didier

Jan 4, 2011 at 10:24am

One day fresh water will cost more than oil or gas. We all have to work, live and think more of our children and grand-children. How much is enough? And at what cost? Does the government and Industry really care? Or is it all about the money? Most companies are from out of country, so why would they care? It's not their backyard! This is not to say we do not need these Industries, and jobs, but if they would stop the corner cutting to save themselves the Almighty Doller and be held to a higher level of responsibility by the government to protect the environment for the future generations... Well at least that would be a start.


Jul 5, 2011 at 2:58pm

This is an illegal/very foolish pratice; whatever legislation is in place saying it is not. Any politician who rubber stamps fracking, is a selfish opportunist, and clearly has not thought through the future consequences of doing so.

Is there any sane person, who would willing get involved in an industry for a pay cheque to feed their family, if they understood that their grand-children/great grand children would have to deal with their 'short-sightedness'? Hey it's 2011, are we really that stupid? C'mon guys, even Lois Hill's, (no disrespect to her), solution is a 'sit-on- the-fence' solution. This is dangerous and affecting us now, Will Koop is right, and all the power to what he says.