Gas Fracking, LNG and what Councillors should, and likely do know.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.43.51 AMOne thing that really bugs me about politicians is when they fein ignorance to avoid dealing with a topic. At last nights City Council meeting there was a letter addressed to council from a resident of Burnaby that had gotten that Council to pass a motion recommending the Provincial government impose a moratorium on Natural Gas Fracking. This has been done in other jurisdictions including counties in New York State and California, the United Kingdom (which was then overturned) and Newfoundland. There is a comprehensive list here.

Councillor Kerr spoke strongly in favour of passing such a motion because of the information she had gathered and heard on the topic. Fracking for unconventional “tight” gas has been a huge issue for many years now all over North America. Concerns have been raised in the media ever since the first fracking was done in Texas and North Dakota.

The information is very much ‘out there’.

Despite this, Councillors McLeman, Solda and Cole claimed they didn’t have enough information to make a determination at this point on the motion. For some reason they ignored the information provided by Councillor Kerr (which she has spoken about a few times). Councillor McLeman said he wasn’t sure if fracking was used for things like the Liquified Natural Gas that is being proposed down the Inlet.

Perhaps I am being too strong, but I don’t really think so. Liquified Natural Gas is just Natural Gas that has been cooled. It comes from anywhere Natural Gas is produced. The majority of new gas now being produced in British Columbia is coming from “unconventional” gas from fracking operations and all new gas will be from these unconventional reserves. Independent reports from geoscientists say that 50,000 new fracking wells will be needed in order to satisfy demand from the 7 proposed LNG facilities (not including Port Alberni).

This graphs shows the reality very clearly. Old conventional natural gas is in blue.  It is declining.
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New unconventional gas is in green (Horn River Shale Gas) and red (Montney Shale Gas). It is rising. This is all fracking.

I personally think the three Councillors claimed lack of information has more to do with their automatic support of LNG more so than their lack of knowledge about fracking but hopefully this information settles any doubt.

Fracking is very bad. The BC Oil and Gas Commission has already investigated minor earthquakes from fracking in NE BC.   All of the LNG that is slated to come online can and will only happen if it comes from fracking unless the moratorium on gas exploration is lifted around Haida Gwaii (which it won’t).

Based on the evidence, Council should have agreed to what was a very reasonable request to encourage the BC government to consider a moratorium.  Perhaps future councils will do so.

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