Alberta asks public for consultations on fracking and water use

Alberta asks public for consultations on fracking and water use by Grace C. Visconti, February 18, 2013, Digital Journal
Edmonton – In a surprising move, Environment Minister Diana McQueen announced that the Alberta government would engage the public in consultations (February 19 – March 21) province-wide on the controversial hydraulic fracking practice and water use in Alberta. … Though opinions will be collected from public forums in 20 towns and cities across Alberta with the intention of taking information from the public to create a new water energy strategy, Albertans already have strong views about water. With the passing of the federal Bill C-45, some major environmental challenges loom on the horizon but no one seems to be listening to the concerns of Albertans about potential water contamination due to lax environmental laws recently passed. … McQueen stressed, “Water is our most important resource, all of us use water in our daily lives, and so this is probably one of the most important conversations.” McQueen wants all Albertans included in this decision making process for future generations. “You’ll see that we’ll be making decisions together with Albertans as we move forward; the intent is not for this to be another document that will sit on a shelf.” The results of the consultations will also be made public but it is not certain when they will be released.

The riveting article in The Tyee entitled How Alberta Will Fight Fracking Folk Hero Jessica Ernst, details how hydraulic fracking contaminated Ernst’s groundwater and why she fought back. Ernst is a 55 year-old scientist and oil patch consultant who is suing the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the Alberta Environment, and Encana for contaminating her well water with toxic chemicals about ten years ago. In another article Tell Us What’s Being Done to Our Groundwater, Demand Albertans, the necessity for transparency on aquifer quality after Alberta closed the public records is heating up. If transparency is allowed, it could very well expose the harmful toxic effects of shale gas operations on Alberta and Canada’s aquifers that may lead to more protests, potential lawsuits, and a definitive ban on fracking if the public puts pressure on provincial and federal governments. [Emphasis added]

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