Cumulative frac harms: Who’s looking? Canada Water Network? Synergy group extraordinaire with Alberta Government Bev Yee on the Board who helped cover-up Encana fracing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers?

Read first: 2012 09 27: Talisman pledges $1.25 M to Mount Royal University

The Calgary company has pledged $1 million to help fund Mount Royal’s new Chair of Sustainability and the Environment. The position, which will be held first by Michael Quinn 

No social license, lack of trust for fracking in NL by Jon Parsons, February 11, 2015,
If you picked up a copy of the Western Star today, the cover here is what you saw. The main headline: “The fracking question” and the sub “There are a lot of unknowns but expert believes it is possible to do it right”

The article quotes Michael Quinn, [Why does the Western Star not disclose the Talisman-Quinn $ connection?] a researcher from University of Alberta, who was in Corner Brook on Tuesday for a Harris Centre sponsored presentation on fracking. The Western Star quotes Quinn: “We need to answer a lot of questions. And you need to understand the details of the particular location … It isn’t just a yes or no kind of thing, but it is getting better and I think it is possible to do in a responsible way.” [It’s easy to say “No,” if the oil and gas industry isn’t your string master]

Reading the headline and sub, and reading through the article, you would be forgiven for imagining that Quinn’s presentation gave a tentative thumbs up to fracking in NL, or at least indicated it is something presently worth considering. But if you actually saw his presentation and listened to the numerous serious issues he raised with regard to fracking, the Western Star article sounds like balderdash. (Moreover, the article didn’t even bother to quote the other panelist, Dr. Stephen Tomblin, whose presentation highlighted the lack of social license for the fracking industry and the inadequacy of institutional decision-making and public policy on the issue.)

Below, I am going to provide a series of quotations from Quinn, along with screen-captures of some of the slides he used in the presentation. The picture that will be painted is quite different from the one in the Western Star. However, I am quite sure that you, dear reader, are capable of making up your own mind, and so I encourage you to not take my word for it, but instead to watch a video of the presentation, embedded below, and then to read the article in the Western Star.

Before continuing, it should be noted that nowhere in the video will you hear Quinn say anything like “I think it is possible to do in a responsible way.” Quinn made this statement in an interview with a reporter after the event. [Would Talisman have it any other way?] One wonders if Quinn assumed the stark critiques raised in his presentation were an obvious caveat to that statement.

Finally, I should also like to point out what I feel is the most significant thing Quinn said, in relation to climate change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which I have recently written about with respect to fossil fuels generally):

“If IPCC predictions are right, then all of those projections I showed about 125 years of gas are moot. If we’re hitting that 2.5 degrees Celsius threshold in 10 or 15 or 20 years from now, we’re having a completely different discussion.”

Personally, I do believe in climate science and do believe that any moves to expand the oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador are reckless — stated as plainly as possible, just so my position is abundantly clear.

Quotations, paraphrases, and slides — Quinn [Go to link for visuals and youtube]

“More than 75% of the peer-reviewed literature [on fracking] has been written in the last 18 months”

“This is part of larger issues about our energy future”

“If some of the estimates of methane leakage are true, we may be producing more green house gasses with methane [from fracking] than with coal”

“It’s clear that we’ve exceeded some pretty important planetary boundary systems [i.e. water, land use, climate change]”.

quinn slide 2

“The landscape footprint [of fracking] can be extremely significant … Even though improvements to drilling technology can reduce the number of wellpads, fracking still has a significant impact on the surface landscape”

quinn slide 4

“The biggest concern from a human standpoint and a health standpoint are biocides … that’s the stuff that has people concerned”

quinn slide 6

“If we’re talking about earthquakes associated with some of these, you get potential for wellbore integrity failure”

“You’re sitting on some really complex geology [in Western Newfoundland] and some of it hasn’t been mapped”

quinn slide

“Industry has started reporting the chemicals used in fracking, though still withholds some such information as trade secrets” [If you try to access information on the super slow frac focus sites, you quickly see there is lots more than trade secrets kept secret]

“There are emerging ‘green’ fracking fluids”

[Encana has been promising that since 2005, with little evidence to back up any green frac fluid emergence and when asked what the “green” chemicals are, VP Richard Dunn has this to say:

EVIDENCE to Parliamentary Committee, Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Encana VP Richard Dunn: “To be honest with you, I don’t understand what we swapped in, but I do understand what we swapped out, and that’s really the beauty of it all.” More on this below]

“Landowners are seeing health effects in herd animals”

“New York Health authority issued a report that was a major factor in the New York government decision to institute a fracking ban … basically what they said is there isn’t enough clear information to make them comfortable going forward from a human health standpoint”

“One of the things that’s really challenging [as a researcher] is that often individual landowners sign non-disclosure agreements saying that if anything happens they can’t talk about it … That part of it just doesn’t seem right, if we’re talking about full disclosure on one hand, and then talking about these non-disclosure agreements”

[Then why did Mr Quinn irresponsibly tell the press fracing can be done in a “responsible” way? If companies know fracing can be done responsibly or right, they would never make landowners sign gag orders – before or after things go wrong.]

quinn slide 9

“The technology [for trapping emissions] has improved greatly, but the potential still exists to put harmful chemicals into the environment”

quinn slide 10

“For the most part, oil and gas development in Canada doesn’t happen as part of a land use planning process”

quinn slide 11

“Some of the projections are that [fracking] wells are leaking up to 15% [i.e. 85% gas recovered, 15% lost] … At those rates, it is a dirtier fuel than coal”

“There is some rhetoric around this being a transitional fuel, but that’s not really what’s driving [fracking] — economics and politics is driving [fracking]

quinn slide 8

“There’s mistrust from a variety of different angles. Researchers don’t trust each others data, industry doesn’t trust academics to come onto their sites … the public mistrusting some of those big-picture decisions, and the only place to engage is at a flash point … I think it’s a symptom of a greater sense of lack of trust with where the whole ship is heading. If there’s one thing that comes out of our research … it is this whole issue of lack of trust from multiple directions.”

“If it is the case that we need this oil and gas, there is room for industry to improve, and particularly this industry [fracking], which has exploded onto the North American landscape in a little over a decade … there are ways to do a much better job than what we’re doing if we decide that’s a road we want to go down”

[Where on earth does any community or family have the choice to say no, unless the governments (eg France) say no too?

Mr. Quinn needs to look around Alberta, and the rest of the frac’d world, to see how frac perpetrators, their lying, deregulating “regulators” and synergizers (including oil company $ chairs at our “bought” universities) are forcing the poisons, unknowns, harms, risks, damages, “green” toxic undisclosed chemicals, contaminated water or loss of water, methane leaks, compressor noise and toxins, flaring noise and toxins, very expensive infrastructure damages on the taxpayer, families and public health]

[Emphasis added]

The fracking question: a lot of unknowns, but expert believes it is possible to do it right by Diane Diane, February 11, 2015, The Western Star
When asked should we or shouldn’t we frack, Michael Quinn said his answer would be, “It depends.”

Quinn, the Talisman Energy chair and director of Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said he thinks it is possible to do it right. [Talisman contaminated fresh groundwater in NEBC with their frac waste pits. If what Mr. Quinn “thinks” is true, Talisman would not have caused this contamination.]

“We need to answer a lot of questions. And you need to understand the details of the particular location,” he said following a presentation at a Memorial Presents: Environmental Risks and Policy Implications of Fracking at the civic centre in Corner Brook Tuesday night. “It isn’t just a yes or no kind of thing, but it is getting better [What about the 175,000 previously frac’d wells in Alberta and BC?] and I think it is possible to do in a responsible way.”

[Then why is no company doing that anywhere in the world? Why are regulators everywhere de-regulating while lying to the public, promising best in the world regulations? And why are Canadian “experts” and academics constantly leaving out the most damning regulator and industry evidence and data in their frac panel “reviews?” And worse, why did Health Canada keep their 2012 report from the public? ]

Quinn’s presentation focused on the study he is leading for the Canadian Water Network on hydraulic fracturing and its effects on surface water. [Study or Synergy for industry? Refer below]

He was one of two speakers for the event, which was hosted by the Harris Centre in partnership with Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Environmental Policy Institute and Memorial University.

The other speaker, Stephen Tomblin, a professor in the department of political science and medicine (community health) at Memorial University, spoke on the political aspect of the issue in terms of policy and policy development.

About 50 people attended the event, which also featured a question-and-answer session following the presentations.

Quinn said fracking is exploding across North America. “It’s one of the most important environmental issues emerging on the landscape.”

That’s part of the reason he was interested in putting a team together when the Canadian Water Network put out the call for proposals on the study.

[Warning: Will it be study or Synergy?

Mr. Quinn saying one thing in his presentation, and later, the opposite to the press is a perfect example of synergy to enable frac perpetrators.

What kind of “study” will it be with Bev Yee, Assistant Deputy Minister, Integrated Resource Management Planning, Government of Alberta on the Canada Water Network Board?

2015 02 11 snap taken of canada water synergy group board of directors, includes alberta govt bev yee
Ms Yee was the Deputy Minister Alberta Environment when it worked hard to let Encana get away with illegally fracturing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers and mislead Rosebud residents, the public and Dr. David Swann about toxic chemicals found in the community’s drinking water supply. The kerosene range hydrocarbons, damning methane fingerprint, other man-made chemicals used in fracing and found in the drinking water were completely left out of Alberta Environment’s report on their hamlet water investigation. More sinister yet, the ethane in the hamlet drinking water was intentionally not fingerprinted and Alberta Environment left out the evidence Encana and Ernst had given the regulator proving Encana had illegally frac’d the community’s drinking water aquifers.]

Being from Calgary, where he’s surrounded by fracking wells, Quinn said it was also an issue he was personally interested in. [Is he now?  Where does Mr. Quinn live? There is no experimental, no duty of care fracing in Calgary yet. Has Mr. Quinn had a bath in Campbell’s contaminated water, or Zimmerman’s, Ernst’s? Or offered to help them get clean safe water?]

He said Alberta can have upwards of 10,000 wells drilled every year, not counting the oil sands. Being such a new technology, Quinn said there is still a lot of unknowns when it comes to fracking.

[Why didn’t Quinn admit to the serious failings of fracing?

2008 what we don't know about hydraulic fracturing is lot's but they still make a lot of money2008 Industry presentation 

2015 02 02 Baker Hughes pres ref'd by Nikiforuk frac quake article, see pg 7 'A closer look'

2012 Distinguished Lecturer Program presentation by Usman Ahmed, VP Baker Hughes ]

Because of that he feels there needs to be a better job done on monitoring — knowing the air and water conditions from the start, tracking them throughout and adjusting accordingly.

[We keep hearing the frac “experts” tell us this but it never happens. Dr. John Cherry and his Council of Canadian Academies frac panel recommended the same thing while neglecting to mention or even reference that he recommended this a decade earlier to the Council of Canadian Ministers of Environment (CCME), knowing what he had recommended was ignored. What kind of propaganda is this? And why was this important 2002 CCME report removed recently from the CCME website?

2002 CCME report chapter 4 by dr john cherry hilted

Why are “experts” reviewing fracing and publicly promoting it like Dr. Cherry and Mr. Quinn, recommending what they know will never happen? In Alberta we call it Synergy for industry. Heavy Duty Propaganda: promise anything and everything to con concerned, trusting communities, ranchers and farmers into saying, “OK, you can frac and experiment on us and our loved ones if you monitor and fix what you wreck.”]

He said it’s about the cumulative effects and not looking at things as if they were isolated from each other.

Quinn said the study has found that land owners in Alberta are seeing an impact on their animals, in terms of reproduction and weight gain, but can’t tell if its primarily due to the fracking. [What type of “study” is Mr. Quinn leading? Keep Talisman happy and the money rolling in?]

“The fact that the fracking showed up is kind of like the straw that broke the camel’s back. It did something to tip the scales.”

Quinn also said there is not a lot of information about the impact on humans, and noted the best information is coming out of New York State.

“All of this is so new,”
he said, “but it’s hard to find a direct connection.” [Emphasis added]

2014 12 02 ban fracing by Social  Justice  Co-op in front confederation bldg St John's Newfoundland

Ban fracking banner by Social Justice Co-op NL. In front of Confederation Building by the government buildings, St. John’s Newfoundland

[Is Mr. Quinn looking? Will anyone find a “direct” connection if Health Canada, provincial agencies and regulators intentionally look the other way? And Canadian “experts” and oil company $ chairs at universities don’t look at all and worse, shamelessly promote experimenting on families, livestock, wildlife, water while intentionally not monitoring, not observing, not collecting data?

Canada Water Network’s address is at the University of Waterloo where notable frac patent holders and or promoters hail from including (but not limited to):

Dr. John Cherry, Chair of the Council Canadian Academies’s frac review that left out the most damning regulator and industry research and data.

From Dr. Cherry’s May 29, 2014 Keynote “Hydraulic Fracturing: Science and Propaganda” at the Munk School frac conference.

Does this slide look like propaganda to you? It was twice slipped into Dr. Cherry’s keynote. Whys promote fracing when presenting on frac “science?”

2014 05 29 Dr. John Cherry, Chair CCA frac report, propaganda in his 'Science and Propaganda' Keynote at Adele Hurley's synergizing frac conference

Dr. Maurice Dusseault, conflict of interest frac patent holder (since 2013): on NB Energy Institute reviewing but mostly synergizing frac harms; NS frac review panel; go slow and experiment Council Canadian Academies frac review panel; and to top it all off, on the NL frac review panel.

2014 How independent is the NL fracing review panel

Dr. Alex Blyth previously with Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates Technologies Futures) that ignored vital contamination case information and allowed Alberta Environment to edit his “independent” reviews, including changing his conclusions, to help cover-up frac contaminated drinking water cases including Campbell, Signer, Lauridsen, Zimmerman, Ernst.

Canada Water Network’s 2014 Annual Report:

2015 02 11 snap Canada water synergy group annual report 2014 board of directors, includes alberta govt bev yee, other notable corporate synergizers

From 2013 Testimony to Parliamentary Committee by Encana VP Richard Dunn:


EVIDENCE Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mr. Jamie Nicholls:

Okay. Disclosure is great, but when accidents happen, traceability and liability are pieces that are necessary to complete social licence.

The National Farmers Union in Alberta, at its last AGM, made some recommendations to the federal and provincial levels of government. One of those was to require companies to include non-toxic tracers in their fracking fluids so that potential groundwater contamination could be easily linked to a specific fracking operation.

Would you agree with that recommendation?

Mr. Richard Dunn:

No. [What does Dunn know that we don’t?] I believe we have significant understanding of the fluids we pump, so that in the event there was ever any groundwater contamination we would be able to tell, especially with the practices we’ve committed [“Committed to is not doing. Companies still are not collecting complete, appropriate, accurately sampled and real baseline data before fracing anywhere in Canada] to in terms of baseline groundwater monitoring, in which we go in and take a sample of regional waters before there is any activity. [This has not happened anywhere in Canada, no matter what Dr. John Cherry, the CCME or CCA recommend. The industry’s preferred “baseline” sampling is after decades of leaking energy wells, spills, frack hits, and other damages] 

I must say, though, with all the wells that have been stimulated, there hasn’t been a proven case in Canada of groundwater contamination, so that is an unlikely event. [CAPP confessed to the Calgary Herald, a year and a half later in August 2014, that VP Richard Dunn was fibbing:

2014 08 28 CAPP's Alex Ferguson admits coalbed methane contaminated well water, in some more infamous cases, landowners could set their water on fire

Mr. Jamie Nicholls:

Is Encana not currently in a lawsuit with Ms. Ernst of Rosebud, Alberta, regarding exactly this, the fact that there is groundwater contamination? Ms. Ernst is not an environmentalist, I should mention. She’s a 55-year-old oil and gas industry consultant, so not exactly somebody who butts heads with the industry a lot, but someone who actually works with it.

I find it kind of puzzling that here we have this technology, and it’s innovative…. Scientists at Rice University are looking at non-toxic tracers to clear this up for the public. Say you have two companies that are drilling in the same place and there is groundwater contamination. Wouldn’t it be useful to know which company the contamination is coming from through the use of tracers?

Mr. Richard Dunn:

It could be done. In my opinion, it would not be required, given that there has never been a proven instance in all the situations. [And the big lie goes on and on and on] … I believe the effort should [Escape hatches make companies so much money] be put into proper well-bore construction practices and baseline monitoring, and those will provide the public assurance.

To comment on Ms. Ernst, you’re right, she has been raising concerns about contamination in the coal-bed methane realm for a number of years. She sued us and the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the regulator in Alberta. The Department of Environment in Alberta has come out definitively saying that there has been no groundwater contamination as a result of our operations in the Rosebud area. [After editing and altering the “independent” reviews, reports and conclusions by Dr. Alex Blyth of the Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates Technologies Futures) …


January 30, 2015: “The Department of Environment in Alberta” filed their Statement of Defence:

34. Further, and in the alternative, if the Plaintiff did incur any loss or damages as alleged in the statement of claim, or at all, which the Province does not admit but rather denies, then any such loss or damages were caused solely or substantially contributed to by the negligence of EnCana, for which the Province is not liable.

Mr. Jamie Nicholls:
Wouldn’t a tracer in the fracking fluids clear up any frivolous claims made by people complaining about groundwater contamination, if indeed they were frivolous? If you had a tracer, it would make certain that it wasn’t from a fracking operation. Wouldn’t you agree?

Mr. Richard Dunn:

It would be one other piece of information, but, as I noted, there are a number of pieces of information already there, which is the point of our reporting, why we’ve gone to disclosure. [Slick, uncomfortable dance of avoidance by Mr. Dunn? And if there is “disclosure,” why is Encana refusing to disclose all the chemicals injected in its frac fields in the USA and Canada, notably at Rosebud, where Encana injected chemicals into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers?]

Mr. Jamie Nicholls:

Right. I noted before that you talked about partnerships with academia [Michael Quinn and his Talisman $ Chair?] in terms of innovative technology, and I know there are researchers at the University of Alberta who are working on tracers. If your industry is not interested in adopting them, isn’t it a waste of time for these researchers to look into tracing technology for fracking fluids?
Wouldn’t it be more constructive to work in partnership with researchers at the University of Alberta to sort of advance this technology?

Mr. Richard Dunn:

It would certainly be something to consider and to look into. I’d certainly agree with you there. [Avoidance again. “To look into” is like working towards “green” frac fluids, some distant time in the “should” future]

Mr. Ted Hsu:

Thank you. Mr. Dunn, can you tell us a little of the history of innovation in fracking fluids? What does “green” mean? What changes have occurred?

Mr. Richard Dunn:

We have developed what we call a responsible products program, and we have shared this with the industry. We sat down with a toxicologist and looked at the accepted toxicological types of rankings [What the Hell does that mean? How much Encana poisons us?  How fast? How deadly? With “expert” blessings?] of various fluids. As well, we worked with our suppliers, and even where there was confidentiality information we went in and signed non-disclosure agreements, on a company-to-company basis, so we had all the information that’s in there. [But none of the poisoned families or communities or volunteer fire fighters get any of this secret “acceptable” poisoning information?]

We looked at the various components of fluids and decided, based upon their toxicological properties, that certain chemicals, principally due to their properties and their pervasiveness, presented a certain degree of risk, and that risk could be managed through operating practices or through avoidance.

We’ve decided, as a company, to avoid those certain chemicals that I mentioned. [When?  And when is Encana going to tell the families exposed to these toxic, pervasive chemicals what they were exposed to? And is Encana really avoiding these chemicals, or just publicly saying they “should” sometime in the future?]

Mr. Ted Hsu:

I’m just wondering, in terms of the chemistry, what chemicals were there and what is there now? There always has to be a surfactant in there. There used to be heavy metals and now there are not. Chemically, what changes have occurred?

Mr. Richard Dunn:
The intent of the chemical packages that we use would be the same, whether it be a surfactant or a biocide or some sort of corrosion control. What we’ve been able to do within those packages is substitute less harmful chemicals, if you will, to meet that same intent. To be honest with you, I don’t understand what we swapped in, but I do understand what we swapped out, and that’s really the beauty of it all.

Mr. Ted Hsu:

Just going back even a little further, to the original development of hydraulic fracturing technology, can you tell us a little bit about what role Canadian researchers played in that?

I don’t mean to put you on the spot, if that’s not something you feel comfortable—

Mr. Richard Dunn:

Canada is an innovative place. It’s not the easiest place to do business in at times, with the environment and such. If you look at pumping large volumes of water and keeping it from freezing in the dead of winter, Canadians have come up with incredibly innovative methods.

2014 05 24 Ernst Presentation at Courtenay CCA report Chair John Cherry gives more questions than answers, science to be made after we're fracd, use us as guinea pigs

Slide from Ernst presentations

Encana frac and drilling chemical research at Suffield, Alberta, 2005:

2005 Metals in EnCana Drilling Waste & Frac Fluid at Suffield Alberta

2005 02 EnCana frac fluids & drilling waste chemicals Suffield Alberta to PTAC Last Slide Next Steps Reduce Toxicity of Frac Fluids

“Should” is an oil patch/energy regulator accountability escape hatch word. How do you make a company keep a “should?” How do you sue a “should?”

After Ernst went public with this research presentation by Encana, it was removed off the internet.


2015 02 17: Ohio Municipalities Can’t Regulate Drilling And Fracking On Their Own, State Supreme Court Rules

Communities want more input in urban drilling decisions; What about already harmed rural communities? We don’t count?

Alberta Energy Consultation: KEEP OUT! Lethbridge Community and Groups Excluded from Urban Drilling Meeting

Kaiser kills Calgary Royal Oak drill and frac for oil 400 metres from homes, Residents in Calgary community celebrate after Kaiser Energy scrapped urban frac plans but worry 2,300 metres is not far enough

2014 No fracking at Port au Port Newfoundland

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