13th April 2018
....Continued from Part one
A messy business that’s helping to heat up the planet
If you believe that unconventional methane sources extracted by hydraulic fracturing – the process that the term fracking refers to – is a well-regulated, tidy process, done with due regard for human and animal and plant health, and carried out in deliberate, measured steps, you will be shocked by what you read in Andrew Nikiforuk’s saga. And if you really thought that this is how it was, you’ll have your worst nightmare confirmed. You’ll also understand why there is a groundswell of resistance to this process – which, if you haven’t heard, is increasingly recognized to be a larger source of greenhouse gas production than oil or even coal.
In other words, the use of fracked methane gas (formerly called “natural gas”), which is then cooled and squeezed to create LNG – liquefied natural gas – is not at all the helpful “bridge” fuel it is still touted to be by industry spokespeople and their political boosters like B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
If Jessica Ernst had won her case before the Supreme Court of Canada, fracking companies would be running scared, because their protector and advocate, the Alberta Energy Regulator – and all similar government agencies -- would no longer be able to cover up for them. The legal landscape around fossil fuel extraction would have instantly been changed forever, and ultimately, the physical landscape in which we live would have been changed also.
But this brave and stubborn woman is not giving up, and the Supreme Court decision does not shut the door to other legal actions against both regulators and industry. In fact, the fact that it was a narrowly split decision opens the door for further actions which address the technical glitch that allow industry a brief reprieve.
One day, the EPA, by changing its report and admitting that groundwater is harmed by fracking, will be very glad that it was ahead of that particular curve.
Read Slick Water.
Note from the author: I have met Andrew Nikiforuk, but he had no influence whatsoever on my writing this piece. I have written this because Slick Water is a damned good book, and tells a story all Canadians need to hear.