New Brunswick’s Minister of Energy announced an indefinite extension of the province’s fracking ban on May 27, based on the February report of its Hydraulic Fracturing Commission, according to a CBC report . Similarly, the Newfoundland and Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel released its final Report at the end of May, with a recommendation that the “pause” on fracking in Western Newfoundland continue. See the Panel website, which includes Submissions and Documents , as well as technical reports as appendices, which include research into the economic and jobs impacts of fracking, as well as impacts on human health and water resources.
New Brunswick has also released a discussion guide , Building a Stronger New Brunswick Response to Climate Change , in order to to stimulate public input for the Select Committee on Climate Change, constituted in April 2016. There is no target date yet for its report.
The impacts of fracking on groundwater is one of the research areas of the Program on Water Issues (POWI) at University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for Global Affairs, “one of the nation’s most celebrated and effective water study programs ” which brought together Canada’s “best scientists and policy-makers … in an independent, non-partisan forum”. Now, after supporting the program for 15 years, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation have announced an end to their support. Although no official reason has been given for the decision, a report by Andrew Nikoforuk in The Tyee (April 19) suggests that research into fracking may have been a factor in the decision. Other research topics pursued at POWI included water withdrawals from the Athabasca River by the oil sands industry, groundwater monitoring, carbon capture and storage, climate change, the future of the Columbia River Treaty, and bulk water exports.
Also: An April report from Environment America, Fracking by the Numbers: the Damage to Our Water, Land and Climate from a Decade of Dirty Drilling catalogues a host of dangers, including contaminated drinking water, depletion of scarce water resources; and air pollution and methane leaks in the U.S. And speaking of contamination of water, see also a new report by Environmental Defence- Energy East: A Risk to our Drinking Water , which documents the nature and proximity of the proposed pipeline to major municipal and community drinking water supplies in four provinces.
An article written jointly by Arnold Bercov, President of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC), and two campaigners with the Wilderness Committee environmental group states: “We believe the B.C. government has gradually abandoned the province’s forestry heritage in pursuit of an unsustainable pipe dream: liquefied natural gas exports to Asia. The better option – for a resilient economy and for our climate – is to rebuild an innovative, sustainable forestry sector…What B.C. needs is legislation that supports an innovative and adaptable forest industry that creates local jobs and moves products up the value chain. Raw-log exports must be banned. Strong laws should also be enacted to protect the ecological values of our working forests for future generations”. See “Trees are the Solution that LNG will never be” in the Times Colonist (Dec. 21). The same article appeared in The Tyee (January 5, 2015) under the title “Prosperity? Forestry not Fracking”. The PPWC has also been critical of the unequal distribution of funds in B.C.’s 2014 policy document, Skills for Jobs Blueprint, whereby training support for LNG jobs appears to come at the expense of funding for other sectors, such as forestry. See Local Knowledge and Government Funding Vital to Training the Next Generation of Foresters.