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Oh, Canada’s Become a Home for Record Fracking

Posted on Dec 28, 2011
Toban Black (CC-BY)

By Nicholas Kusnetz, ProPublica

(Page 4)

“How much water is actually being used and, more importantly, how much water is projected to be used over next the 10 to 15 years? Because of the scattershot approach of regulation, this isn’t something we can actually answer right now,“said Matt Horne, acting director of the climate change program at the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank that published a report on the gas industry’s water use.

Last year, in a report focusing on province-wide groundwater oversight, British Columbia’s auditor general said the province was not adequately protecting aquifers from overuse and potential contamination. Agencies lacked the basic data necessary to assess the risks, such as the number and extent of the province’s aquifers, the report said.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines, in a written response to questions, said the province is taking several steps to improve oversight of water use, including a research project studying aquifers. The agency said it can review large groundwater withdrawal projects and that pending changes to the province’s water law would regulate withdrawals.

Drillers themselves are also moving to address water concerns. Encana and Apache have started using saline water not suitable for drinking or irrigation in some of their projects. Alan Boras, the Encana spokesman, said the company uses non-potable water almost exclusively in its main operating area in the Horn River Basin, where the largest frack jobs were reported.

Environmentalists say they welcome the effort, but caution that these projects are tiny compared to the industry’s overall water use.

Governments, Industry Get Cozy

Public backlash to fracking has become such a concern for drillers and provincial governments in western Canada that last year they launched a joint effort to counter it.

In December 2010, the governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding laying out a plan to share information and develop standards for hydraulic fracturing and water use. The provinces invited only one non-governmental entity to participate in the project: the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The memo, which was leaked in August and published by the Alberta Federation of Labour, a union group, said the provinces and petroleum producers would work together to develop “key messages” on shale drilling to persuade the public not to fear fracking.

“The project will help to demonstrate that shale gas extraction is viable, safe and environmentally sustainable,” the memo said.

The memo blamed environmental groups for spreading misleading information and stirring opposition to drilling.

“Environmental Non-Government organizations (ENGOs) are supporting a ill-informed [sic] campaign on hydraulic fracturing and water related issues in British Columbia and in other jurisdictions,” it said. “This is expected to grow as shale gas development expands into Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

In a separate memo, Alberta Environment and Water reported that the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers had approached the province to work on a joint public relations campaign.

Ultimately, no campaign materialized.

Janet Annesley, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the group hadn’t wanted to join forces on PR but was just informing the province of plans to publish voluntary standards for shale gas drilling.

Still, critics saw the memo as proof of an overly cozy relationship between the government and the industry.

Bart Johnson, a spokesman for Alberta’s Energy Minister, said the petroleum producers had suggested a joint PR initiative but dropped the request. Such a collaboration, however, would not have been inappropriate, he said. The government works with industry groups all the time, he said, citing a campaign with education groups against bullying in schools.

“Oil and gas is huge in Alberta. It fuels our economy. Indeed it fuels the economy of Canada,” Johnson said. “Any suggestion that we shouldn’t meet with that industry is ridiculous.”


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By prosefights, January 2, 2012 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Earthquake in Youngstown, Ohio interrupts natural-gas drilling operations
Ohio has suspended the underground disposal of wastewater from natural-gas drilling operations “indefinitely” in the Youngstown after a series of 11 recent earthquakes, including one on Saturday with a magnitude of 4.0.

nmgco page -
You +1’d this publicly. Undo
Nmgco is supplying gas with only 869.4 BTU/ft3? ... NMGCO should have some technical experts qualified to comment on whether Ms Hammelman’s and Mr ...;=&gs;_sm=&gs;_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=890a274ff6b690bf

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By prosefights, January 1, 2012 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

McDONALD, Ohio (AP) — Officials said Saturday they believe the latest earthquake activity in northeast Ohio is related to the injection of wastewater into the ground near a fault line, creating enough pressure to cause seismic activity.

The brine wastewater comes from drilling operations that use the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale. But Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said during a news teleconference that fracking is not causing the quakes.

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By purplewolf, January 1, 2012 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

4 pt. earthquake in Ohio today and yes they were fracking there. As for all the TV ads telling then sheeple that it is totally safe. Bull. As for the people refusing to let the frackers back on their land, the courts will back big energy. Some people who had a contract with 1 of these companies sold it sold to another companies and the contract had run out. The land owners had the right to get a better price for the use of their property, the other company refused and it ended up in court and the courts let big energy pay the people the old rate that was about like 3 cents per acre. Other people water in the home became contaminated so the companies promised to supply them with clean water as long as they were there drilling, the clean water lasted for a few weeks and the company reneged on that. The homeowners have tap water that catches fire when you turn on the tap, water is all kinds of colors willed with unknown chemicals and dirt. I can see where the Mayan predictions might just happen if we keep disrespecting the only home we really have.

“After the last tree is cut down,the last animal is slaughtered and all the waters poisoned,only then will you realize you cannot eat money.” Old Native Indian saying, Buffalo Spirit.

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By prosefights, December 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

Snyder, Texas has another fracking earthquake

Featured on TV news in Lubbock Friday morning December 30, 2011

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By drbhelthi, December 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

If fracking is safe and environmentally sustainable, why has ground water become polluted in all areas where fracking has been done?  All areas where fracking has occurred.

Fracking = the systematic polluting of ground water and aquifers.
Fracking = the systematic polluting of ground water and aquifers.

The systematic polluting of ground water and aquifers ?

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By SteveL, December 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

US Geothermal Power Potential 10x That Of Coal Power Plants, New Analysis Shows

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By John Boyle, December 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And _ _ _ _ they’ve just started fracking in the 51st state.
Only difference being that WATER is the most precious resource on the driest habitable land mass on Earth.

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By prosefights, December 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009.

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By berniem, December 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

There goes my misconception about Canada being sane!

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By Big B, December 29, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Thw frackers are just about finished raping western pa and are about to pull up stakes and move on to Ohio.

who would have ever thought that, instead of spending our time and money developing alternative energy sources, we would dig, suck, mine, and burn everything we could get our hands on.

Oh that’s right, I did. and just about everybody else too.

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By SarcastiCanuck, December 29, 2011 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I was young I thought we here in Canada were better than other countries in the world(especially the U.S.),when it came to caring for the environment.Now I understand that money rules and the rest comes second.Canada is now becoming an energy leader in the world and our land,water and our people will pay the devil’s price down the road.We are now No better than anybody and have rightfully earned any scorn towards us….Like DrBones said,it always comes down to MONEY.

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By Roger Lafontaine, December 29, 2011 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’re all in a mad rush to destroy ourselves in order to extract some $$$$$ out of the planet. Who invented $$$$$ anyway? We did, in order to facilitate trade or something. Now that very obsolete invention has become totally destructive, and guess what we’re going to hang on to it until it kills us, every last one of us. That is the limit of human intelligence. The sky’s not the limit anymore, profit is.

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By Paul McGuire, December 29, 2011 at 5:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A familiar story, this digging for precious materials
at the expense of those even more valuable. It’s time
to dig that old dog-eared copy of God’s Little Acre out
of the pile of books in the attic.

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By Anarcissie, December 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Canada has generally been a natural-resources colony for U.S.-based corporations.  When I was there in the 1970s it was logging: square miles of old-growth forest could disappear overnight with nary a peep of protest.  Now—well, I guess there’ll be rainbows in Canadian water before long.

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By tapxe, December 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, I disagree…

Frack all you want.


I haven’t stepped on the north American continent and won’t again for a long time.

if you’re a jew, would you go to nazi Germany?

I’m not a jew, just a liberty loving causasian and ameriKa is much worse than the nazis ever were (Ok not towards the jews…  who BTW, run ameriKa, finance, media, gov’t, etc. - into the ground -) and because I am a vocal dissident, I am blacklisted, etc, the works.

Let them self destruct, and fracking is a great way to achieve that in very little time.

Once the Ogallala aquifer is dead (on its way real fast already), ameriKa is completely finished, no more bread basket, etc…

The faster, the better.

Self destruct from within, that’s as close to divine justice as you can get.

As for all the morons still living there…  Fuck’em.

If they lack the wherewithall to stand to tyranny (I openly call for armed insurrection) that has eviscerated the US Constitution, they’re not worthy of Liberty and will get what they deserve.

As for me, not that you’d care, I am doing just fine in tropical paradise with world class free health care and university for the kids, etc, etc.  The economy is down somewhat, but we’re still prospering.

Best decision I ever made to move my family out of uSSa shortly after the 9-11 writing on the wall became very clear.

Love it or leave it?

I left it because I love America and I can’t stand and won’t have any part in what she’s morphing into.

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By NZDoug, December 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

Why can’t they process the crap in Canada and use the mother truckers to ship it?

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By PatrickHenry, December 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Fracking = Polluting groundwater.

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By Blueokie, December 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

Ottawa should just drop the pretense and change its name to Houston du Nord.

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By Dr Bones, December 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Looks like energy prices should plummet given all the drilling to babies are doing.  Best bet is to invest in clean water! It always comes down to MONEY!

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By diamond, December 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

I live in an area where fracking is a developing nightmare and farmers have started a campaign called ‘lock the gate’ to deny these companies admission to their land. They even want to drill at a religious retreat with a convent and monastery and it’s not out of the question that they will drill in urban areas too. The process of fracking is destroying water supplies and may eventually impact on the main source of agricultural water supplies. I don’t know whether or not they are going to turn up one day and tell me they’re drilling on my land and I have no way to stop them because you only own the land, not what’s under it. It’s yet more proof, if any is needed, that national governments and state governments are powerless to represent voters or protect their interests and the power is now all in the hands of corporations and corporations, as Charles A. Reich pointed out in ‘The Greening of America’, are insane.

Only an essentially mindless entity, he writes, an organism lacking all human values would ‘cut the last redwoods, pollute the most beautiful beaches, invent machines to injure and destroy plant and human life…To have only one value (corporate value) is, in human terms, to be mad’. And the mad are now calling the shots.

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By gerard, December 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

All I can think of to say is:  “Keep your fracking hands off my Mother!

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