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 now a standard extraction process used by gas companies to exploit gas deposits trapped below the ground. Canada's remaining gas reserves are trapped in hard shale rock formations, and are difficult to access.
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. Fracking also causes large amounts of methane to escape into the atmosphere, which has a serious impact on our climate.
In BC, the biggest driver of climate change over the coming decades will be the province's massive new liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, which will require up to 40,000 new fracked gas wells for just five of the 10 or more proposed LNG terminals. The BC government has billed the LNG industry as a windfall for economic development, but government and industry leaders neglect to tell citizens about the enormous level of environmental destruction that will result from feeding our LNG ambitions with fracked 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 every day.
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.
The northwest coast of BC is facing gas industry threats of its own, with a myriad of proposed gas pipelines snaking their way to massive LNG terminals proposed for our west coast. For those who will live in the shadow of these terminals, there are major concerns over air quality – not to mention the rapid acidification of the Pacific Ocean due to climate change. Four major gas pipelines proposed across the interior are at various stages in the approval process, and folks in the region are struggling to keep up with the various regulatory processes.
Around the world, countries, states and provinces are stepping up to take action to halt fracking because of growing public concerns.
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 stop fracking now, and back away from plans to export huge amounts of liquefied FRACKED gas.
ArcGIS Online Map of Proposed Gas & Tar Sands Pipelines, LNG Plants & Parks Potentially Impacted in Northern BC - updated Oct 2014
Proposed Gas Pipelines (five LNG-related and one not) are shown as red dotted lines, proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline as purple dotted line, and 13 proposed LNG plants and export terminals are shown as pink factory icons. Also shown are 11 BC parks that will be potentially impacted by the new Kinder Morgan pipeline according to BC government documents (dark green), and another 19 parks that may be potentially impacted by new Kinder Morgan pipeline in light green. You can click on individual pipelines, LNG plants/terminals, parks or other features on map to get their names and 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 a larger ArcGIS Online map viewer window.
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RED DOTTED LINES = Proposed Gas Pipeline routes (5 LNG related and 1 not LNG related)
PURPLE DOTTED LINE = Proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Tar Sands pipeline route
PINK FACTORY ICONS = Proposed 13 LNG Plants & Export Terminals
GREY LINES = Existing major gas pipelines in northern BC
DARK GREEN AREAS = 11 BC Parks & Protected Areas potentially impacted by new pipeline according to BC government document
LIGHT GREEN AREAS = 19 Other BC Parks & Protected Areas that may be potentially impacted by new pipeline
LIGHT GREY AREAS = Shale Gas Basins - Targeted by Fracking
To view or download a .pdf version of the map showing proposed pipelines and affected parks, click here.
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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