A controversial and destructive way of extracting natural gas, known as hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’, is threatening Canada’s fresh water and wilderness areas. Fracking is an increasingly common extraction process which oil and gas companies are using to exploit difficult to access deposits of natural gas which are trapped in hard shale rock formations.
The process of fracking injects vast amounts of freshwater combined with hazardous chemicals like benzene along with sand into drill sites to break up hard shale formations and release the trapped gas.
To learn more about the impacts of fracking in British Columbia, check out this video:
Wherever it has been introduced, fracking has left a series of very serious impacts both on the environment and human health. Water pollution, sour gas leaks, habitat fragmentation and declining health are just a few of the consequences communities living near fracking face everyday.
The movie Gasland brought to light many of the frightening aspects of fracking, most specifically the danger it poses to freshwater resources. The haunting image of lighting polluted tap water on fire highlights just how much is a stake.
In northeastern BC, the Horn River Basin and the industry-dubbed Montney Shale play are ‘ground zero’ for fracking expansion.
This area is currently undergoing rampant development, with little regulation and even less public consultation. Vast amounts of freshwater are siphoned out of the Williston Reservoir, as well as rivers and lakes across the region. Thousands of gallons of toxic waste water will be dumped into underground aquifers, posing a serious threat to freshwater. The area’s remaining wilderness areas will be eaten away by clear cuts, road access, pipelines and transmission lines: impacting wildlife corridors, critical habitat and degrading ecosystem integrity.
Around the world, countries, states and provinces are stepping up to take action to halt fracking because of growing public concerns about the technique.
Unfortunately, British Columbia is trailing far behind other jurisdictions when it comes to taking the dangers of fracking seriously. New Jersey has a ban, Quebec has a ban, France has a ban. It is time for BC to step up to the plate and stop fracking now.
ArcGIS Online Map of Proposed Gas & Tar Sands Pipelines, LNG Plants & Parks Potentially Impacted in Northern BC
Proposed Gas Pipelines are shown in red dotted lines, proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Tar Sands Pipeline in purple dotted line, and proposed LNG plants & export terminals are shown as pink factory icons. Also shown is BC parks that will be potentially impacted by the new Kinder Morgan pipeline according to BC government documents in dark green, and other parks that may be potentially impacted by new Kinder Morgan pipeline in light green. You can click on individual features on map to get more information on those features. You can toggle the legend, zoom in or change the basemap imagery with the buttons across the top. You can pan around map by clicking on map and dragging with your mouse. Click 'View Larger Map' below map to open the map in ArcGIS Online map viewer.
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RED DOTTED LINES = Proposed Gas Pipeline routes
PURPLE DOTTED LINE = Proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline route
PINK FACTORY ICONS = Proposed LNG Plants & Export Terminals
GREY LINES = Existing major gas pipelines in northern BC
DARK GREEN AREAS = BC Parks & Protected Areas potentially impacted by new pipeline according to BC government document
LIGHT GREEN AREAS = Other BC Parks & Protected Areas that may be potentially impacted by new pipeline
LIGHT GREY AREAS = Shale Gas Basins - Targetted by Fracking
ArcGIS Online Map of Temporary Fracking Water Withdrawal Approvals by BC Government
Each dot on map represents a Section 8 Temporary Water Withdrawal Approval issued by the BC government for fracking operations. Click on individual dots to get approval details for that location.
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