A Vile and Dirty Business

The B.C. government isn’t asking many questions about a technique involving toxic compounds. 

Fort St. John, BC - Gwen Johansson lives in what used to be idyllic surroundings a few
kilometres west of Fort St. John in B.C.’s northeast. Lately,
though, the tranquillity of her home overlooking the placid Peace
River has been shattered by an intrusive flow of traffic.

Often operating around the clock, heavy-bodied tanker trucks
pull off Highway 29 and line up at the riverbank to drop in thick
hoses and gun high-volume pumps that suck up thousands of litres of
water in just a few minutes. “They’re hauling out of there day and
night,” Johansson told the Georgia Straight by phone, “one
loading, two more waiting. You can see the amount of water that’s
going out.”

You may be able to see it, but you can’t measure it. No public
agency requires the truckers or their employers to keep a tally of
the water they extract from the Peace and other streams for
delivery to the scores of gas wells being drilled at any one time
in the area.

Estimates based on Peace drilling activity, however, suggest
that the giant sucking sound could reach as high as 135 billion
litres a year. That’s enough water to fill a line of tanker trucks
parked bumper to bumper around the equator-five abreast.

Biologist Jessica Ernst
says that after gas wells were “fracked” near her Alberta home, gas
came out of her tap water-so much so that she could light it on
fire. Colin Smith

You’re also not allowed to know what gets mixed in with the
river water before it’s injected into the ground under staggering
pressure in order to fracture solid rock and release the
hydrocarbons trapped there.

Drilling contractors insist the mixes they use are trade
secrets. The Oil and Gas Commission, British Columbia’s decade-old
one-stop shop for gas and oil oversight, isn’t curious. “The
question I ask in reverse,” said the OGC’s leader for corporate
affairs, Steve Simons, in his Victoria digs-the temple to
sustainable building, Dockside Green-“is why? Why is it important
to know?”

Well, perhaps because the chemicals the same international
gas-field contractors have injected in the United States and
elsewhere in Canada using the same fracturing technique have been
linked to a string of contaminations-culminating in events as
bizarre as a house explosion in Ohio and the flammable water that
flows from faucets in the high-prairie hamlet of Rosebud,

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Source: www.straight.com

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