More than 25,000 fracking wells scar the boreal forest of northeastern British Columbia. A vast labyrinth of pipelines, access roads, compressor stations, gas plants, wastewater ponds and flare stacks connects them. And one outlet to the Pacific Ocean is all that’s needed to spread countless more.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants proposed for the west coast would spark a fracking bonanza in the North Montney, a stretch of black spruce trees and winding rivers above a shale rockbed deep beneath the earth. These facilities would drive tens of thousands of new fracking wells into the area.
Fracking companies draw a staggering amount of freshwater from local lakes and rivers before mixing it with harmful chemicals to make frac fluid. They then blast that underground at extremely high pressures with silica sand to shatter open the rock and release the methane gas within. It’s far from a perfect process, though, and the poison water can leak from wells into aquifers while the extremely potent greenhouse gas spills into the atmosphere.
Oil and gas produces a fifth of BC’s carbon pollution, more than all other industries combined. It’s also growing — since 2007 emissions from fracked gas are up eight per cent while other industries are down four per cent in total. Meanwhile, three approved LNG plants would more than double the sector’s pollution and make it all but impossible for BC to meet its climate goals.
LNG Canada, Woodfibre LNG and Kitimat LNG claim their fracked gas exports will replace coal power in Asia but this is a communications strategy, not a climate one. More than 90 per cent of new global electricity came from renewable energy in 2020, and gas is fast becoming an extremely expensive back-up fuel that will soon be replaced with batteries. Global gas production needs to fall three per cent every year through 2030 and beyond in order to maintain a safe climate. It’s time for BC to put an end to this destructive industry, starting with the enormous public giveaways fracking and LNG companies receive.
To learn more about the impacts of fracked gas, read our latest paper Planet on Fire: Let’s End Fracking in B.C. To write a letter to your MLA demanding an end to fracking in the province visit EndFracking.ca.
Below is a chart and map highlighting the largest fracking companies in British Columbia and where they operate. Nearly every one of them receives more money in drilling credits than they pay in taxes and royalties.
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