Meet Alberta’s Radioactive Ranchers: Nielle and Howard Hawkwood. Timing is everything. Why did AIMCo (ATB/Heritage Fund connected) announce $200 Million (bailout?) investment in “Quite leveraged” Calfrac on same day NDP Rural Caucus try to get Nielle Hawkwood’s frac ban resolution on floor of NDP’s Annual Convention?

2016 06 11 Notley says she wants to hear from delegates on fracking moratorium, says there are concerns, snap from CBC live feed, Scott Dippel, NDP Convention

Because of Andrew Nikiforuk’s article (included below) published early morning June 11 on Hawkwoods being poisoned?

Snap from live feed at CBC article

On June 10, 2016, the frac ban resolution was put to the very bottom of the list at the NDP convention, ensuring it would not be heard. The CBC reported a Party official telling them that the resolution was placed at the bottom of the list because “delegates thought it wasn’t very important.” The acting President told delegates it was “too complex” to be discussed. But, in 2011, Notley, very simply in a press release, had already called for “an independent investigation into hydraulic fracturing” when she was environment critic for the NDP. Below copied directly from the NDP’s 2011 press release:

2011 08 18 Notley, NDP press release, 'calling for independent investigation into hydraulic fracturing'

2011 08 11: Notley: review needed as PCs seek to bury fracking opposition [Page 15]

Alberta’s NDP Opposition environment critic Rachel Notley is calling for an independent investigation into hydraulic fracturing as a government document shows a PC plan to bury public opposition and co-operate only with industry. [Are the NDP copying the PC’s by burying the Frac  Ban Resolution at the bottom of the list, dishonestly claiming the resolution too complex to debate? Notely was able to call for an investigation in a mere press release, 5 years ago, long before the many hundreds of peer-reviewed papers have been publishing clearly showing the risks, and direct harms to air, land, water, public health and livestock]

… A cabinet document leaked today by Notley outlines a joint plan through the New West Partnership to demonstrate “shale gas extraction is viable, safe and environmentally sustainable”, despite the “growing public concern” noted in the report. “Shale gas environmental concerns in the media and in the public in other jurisdictions are potentially problematic for energy development and environmental management in Alberta.” The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers approached the government to join forces in a PR campaign favouring fracking, according to the document – a request the government is fielding. Meanwhile, there’s no provision for public input on determining whether fracking should go forward in Alberta.

“There’s a mounting body of shocking questions about the safety and sustainability of shale gas extraction. Other jurisdictions are studying the practice. The PCs don’t really know if it’s safe or sustainable – they’re only consulting CAPP, who has a vested interest in pushing forward,” Notley says.

“An NDP government would put the interests of Albertans first by establishing an open review that is independent, relies on science and consults with the public,” Notley says. [Keep in mind, this is a 2011 NDP Press Release]

Back to 2016:


This post is dedicated to Albertan, Ms. Dorene Rew (1937-2009).

Thank goodness she isn’t alive to see what the Alberta NDP have become. Dorene often wrote her concerns to the NDP and copied Ernst.

Many thanks to Andrew Nikiforuk for enduring the suffering to bear witness to and document the frac atrocities in Alberta.


From NIOSH Presentation by Dr. John Snawder in Pennsylvania June 10, 2016:

2016 06 10 NIOSH, Dr. John Snawder, Oil Gas extraction sector program, overview safety health exposure assessment research, title

2016 06 10 NIOSH, Dr. John Snawder, Oil Gas extraction sector program, overview safety health exposure assessment research, Exposure Hazards

Nielle Hawkwood’s Frac Ban Resolution, Passed at Alberta NDP Rural Caucus AGM, Redwater Feb. 19, 2016, Put last on the list at NDP Convention, Calgary, June 10, 2016:


WHEREAS  horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” has been banned or placed under moratorium in several countries, three U.S. states and three Canadian provinces

WHEREAS  recent studies have revealed serious risks to public health involved at every stage of operations

WHEREAS  methane emitted by fracked wells is a potent greenhouse gas, contributing to man-made climate change

WHEREAS  Alberta’s water resources are precious and valuable

WHEREAS  there is growing concern in Alberta and a growing body of evidence of negative effects of horizontal hydraulic fracturing activities on human and animal health and air and water quality and of an increase in dangerous seismic activity

WHEREAS  agricultural production and the safety of our agricultural products will be under increasing scrutiny as our trade develops with countries where horizontal  “fracking” is not allowed

WHEREAS our reputation for environmental integrity has the potential to have a direct effect on our tourism industry

WHEREAS  Alberta municipalities require the assistance of the Province in order to fulfill their duty to protect the health and safety of their residents

 Be it resolved  that the Alberta NDP calls on the Provincial Government to:

  1. Declare a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing pending independent scientific study to determine the effects of all operations on human and animal health, and on the environment, including thorough investigation of effects on air, land and water. 
  1. Declare nondisclosure agreements in landowner contracts regarding information on effects of the technology on air, land or water to be illegal. 
  1. Remove “right of entry” legislation, which renders useless any attempt to obtain reasonable compensation for landowners. 

 Background Statement 

Subsequent to natural resource exploration and activities involving horizontal hydraulic fracturing, concerns have been received from landowners regarding air, water and soil contamination, human and animal health effects and seismic events, some of which were destructive of infrastructure.

Residents are expected to prove harm from these activities, rather than industry being required to prove safety.  We need to ensure the protection of our people, our environment and our water – our most valuable natural resources.


Des ranchers de l’Alberta victimes de la radioactivité du fracking? French translation of Andrew Nikiforuk’s article below by Amie du Richelieu, June 12, 2016

MUST READ! Radioactive Ranchers? Elements Found Downwind of Intensive Fracking, Nielle and Howard Hawkwood now want a moratorium on Alberta industry by Andrew Nikiforuk, June 11, 2016, The Tyee

At first, Nielle and Howard Hawkwood, who have ranched in Alberta’s foothills for 40 years, couldn’t believe the ”in-your-face industrialization” that accompanied the horizontal drilling and fracking of tight oil wells around Cochrane, Alberta.

It began in 2009 when the so-called Cardium oil boom abruptly dotted the rolling landscape with scores of well pads, oil batteries, and new access roads.

The companies were drilling lateral wells, which turn 90 degrees and travel for kilometres underground, extending under people’s barns and homes. (Tight oil costs more to extract and produces lower quantities of oil.)

As industry fracked these deep, far-reaching wells with millions of gallons of water, toxic chemicals, and sand under high pressure and then burned off unwanted raw gas, the Hawkwoods and many of their neighbours began complaining about noxious emissions and earth tremors.

Some officials with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) initially responded to general complaints in the region by saying fracking was proven and safe and that it couldn’t cause earthquakes — claims now proven false by a variety of scientific studies.

Just this year, for example, scientists reported that tremors in Western Canada caused by the oil and gas industry ”are highly correlated in time and space with hydraulic fracturing.”

At their own ranch, the Hawkwoods observed that their well water levels rose during highly pressurized fracking operations and then returned to normal once the fracking stopped.

Then came reports from nearly a dozen nearby residents about hair loss, respiratory problems, skin rashes, and rare cancers. Many families later moved from the region.

”When my own hair loss became extreme, I Googled hair loss and fracking and realized it was a frequent symptom,” recalled Nielle.


The studies are voluminous and alarming.

In 2014, a U.S. federal study reported that pollution from the mining of natural gas in rural areas can increase the incidence of congenital heart defects among babies born to mothers living close to well sites.

In 2015, another major U.S. study found that the fracking of unconventional rock formations can liberate and accelerate the release of radon, a highly carcinogenic gas into people’s homes.

The studies are all part of a growing body of new peer-reviewed scientific literature that shows the industry is having a definitive health impact on rural populations.

In 2009, the number of peer-reviewed studies on the impact of shale gas or tight oil development (all use the technology of fracking) numbered but six papers.

But due to unrelenting controversy, the research on the impact of unconventional drilling has grown to encompass nearly 700 studies.

This year, researchers with PSE Healthy Energy, a scientific institute that supports energy policies based on evidence, assessed the studies and separated out those specifically dealing with air, water, and human health.

The researchers found that vast majority of studies that fell into those categories showed serious public health problems ranging from human exposure to cancer-causing chemicals to water contamination.

Of 31 studies that looked at human health impacts, 26 of them — 84 per cent — found significant public health hazards or elevated risks. Of 58 studies on water quality, 69 per cent found actual water contamination or potential problems.

And out of 46 studies on air quality, 87 per cent found direct evidence of elevated air pollution downwind from fracking sites either from trucks, venting or flaring.

Researchers concluded that their assessment ”demonstrates that the weight of the scientific literature indicates that there are hazards and elevated risks to human health as well as possible adverse health outcomes.” — Andrew Nikiforuk

Neighbours of fracking operations are more likely to report health issues. One Pennsylvania study found that people with water wells who live near fracking sites were twice as likely to report skin and respiratory problems. The study did not establish causation.

After losing an unprecedented number of cattle in 2013, the Hawkwoods tested soil where the cattle had urinated and found high levels of radioactive materials. Not even seeds would germinate in the soil. That discovery convinced the couple to test themselves for radioactive elements and to purchase a Geiger counter.

The special test, analyzed at the London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, showed that the ranchers had ”high” levels of uranium and strontium above the lab’s ”reference range” in their urine, probably due to exposure from soil, water or air.

”I was upset,” said Nielle, a 67-year-old retired speech pathologist. ”It was really disconcerting.”

The doctors told her not to worry and that, by the way, ”You’ve got lower kidney function due to aging.” She added, ”But that didn’t seem true to me at all.” Nielle believes it’s related to the uranium and strontium exposure.

Although an analysis of the lab findings by Alberta Health Services stated ”there is absolutely no way to relate the uranium in soil to any recent fracking,” the Hawkwoods and a growing body of scientific literature on the concentration of radioactive elements in unconventional shale and oil development contradict those claims.

Radioactive waste

There is almost universal agreement among geologists that the geochemistry for every shale or tight oil basin is unique and contains many trace metals, as well as what the oil industry calls ”technically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material,” or TENORM, due to the depth of these formations in the earth. Some formations have more radioactive materials than others.

In addition, it is well known that the extraction process can concentrate TENORM in drilling waste and also bring the radioactive elements to the surface via flowback waters, the highly saline waters that gush from a well prior to hydrocarbon production.

According to U.S. research scientist JP Nicol, strontium and radium are soluble. It is also possible many elements of TENORM can be mobilized from drilling waste, travel in water, and enter water wells.

Nicol, who works at the Economic Bureau of Geology at the University of Texas in Austin, said that levels of strontium and uranium could have been high in local waters before fracking, but nobody noticed because no analyses were done.

But the Alberta Health Services analysis on the uranium findings, dated June 25, 2015, did note that many other people living near fracking sites had experienced ”similar symptoms to Mrs. Hawkwood and her husband… Although they all seem nonspecific, many of them had problems with hair loss, epistaxis (bleeding from the nose), weight changes, malaise, and respiratory symptoms.”

An email from the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health noted that the energy regulator ”does not have analytical data for the Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) content of flowback waters and gases from each of the hydraulically fractured wells in the Cardium Formation” but suspected that ”there is unlikely to be substantial” radioactive materials present.

Nor does it have any information on the contents of flared gas from fracking sites.

It added the regulator’s research in this area is ongoing.

Fracking hazards

In recent years many studies have underscored the dangers of unconventional shale development for oil or gas for people living nearby fracked well sites.

A 2015 Dartmouth College study found that chemical reactions between injected freshwater and hydraulically fractured shale itself could release large amounts of the toxic metal barium and potentially radium, too.

One 2016 study published in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found elevated levels of barium and strontium in flowback or wastewaters from wells that were recently fracked. This same wastewater malignantly transformed cells and formed tumors in mice.

A study in West Virginia found that an injection well pumping salty wastewater from fracking operations into the ground had leaked and contaminated a local stream with radioactive elements and other chemicals.

Another Texas study found that shale gas activity can contaminate nearby water wells with a variety of heavy metals and toxic chemicals ranging from arsenic to strontium. Moreover, it found these contaminants will fluctuate over time.

A 2015 analysis of the management of wastewater, including radioactive wastes at unconventional drilling operations in four North American jurisdictions (including Alberta), found huge gaps and inconsistencies.

Both industry and government knew little about ”the fate of wastewater, the source of water used, water injection and production, and chemical analysis,” said the report.

It added that it was also unclear ”what portion of a well’s wastewater is reused/recycled, treated, surface discharged, or deep-well injected. This lack of information prohibits any direct analysis of wastewater management practices for the hydraulic fracturing operations based on the available information in databases.”

More than 10,000 horizontal wells have been drilled and fracked in Alberta in the last decade.

Regulator report denies serious problems

The Hawkwoods now suspect their uranium exposure came from radioactive elements that either dissolved in groundwater or came from untested drill cuttings that were trucked from heavily fracked well sites and applied to farmland in the Lochend area as ”fertilizer.”

Last year the Alberta Energy Regulator, which is 100 per cent funded by industry and has no mandate to protect public health, released a report titled ”Recurring Human Health Complaints Technical Information Synthesis: Lochend Area,” without notifying local residents.

The report, which came with a disclaimer that it would not be suitable ”for use by any other person” than Lochend residents, denied there were any serious problems with hydraulic fracturing.

The document said that complaints from Lochend area residents ”were general in nature, containing concerns over fracturing in the province.” It made no mention of TENORM and did not contain any information from previous Alberta studies on the hazards of flaring waste gas.

In Nielle Hawkwood’s view, the AER report was ”put together to make it look like there was no basis to our complaints.” She characterized the document as disrespectful and dishonest.

A government reply to Tyee questions on the document said: ”The report produced by AER is not a health report. It does not assess indicators of human health.”

The report acknowledged ”a need for more information about air emissions from flaring in the initial stages of new development, specifically during fracturing flowback.” That study has yet to happen due to the cessation of most fracking in the area following the drop in oil prices.

But according to a government response to questions from The Tyee, the ”flowback emissions study underway within the [regulator] will focus on characterizing the chemical composition of gaseous emissions from hydraulically fractured wells in the Cardium formation and will include NORM analysis.”

‘Totally disgruntled’

The Hawkwoods’ uranium findings will likely be a topic of conversation at the annual convention of Alberta’s New Democratic Party this weekend in Calgary, where Nielle plans to introduce a resolution to ban fracking in a province ”pending independent scientific study to determine the effects of all operations on human and animal health, and on the environment, including thorough investigation of effects on air, land and water.”

Given the province’s dependence on oil revenues and fractious politics, she has no idea how her resolution will be received. And there’s a chance it won’t be heard at all: on Friday, NDP officials pushed the resolution, which is supported by the party’s rural caucus, to last position on the list: number 66.

But Nielle argued that the province should act now while oil prices are low and before there is another boom.

Now that most fracking in Nielle’s neighborhood has ceased, groundwater flow and chemistry has normalized, the birds have returned, and her hair has grown back, she said.

To date, several countries, six U.S. states, and several provinces including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland have banned fracking because of health and water contamination concerns.

”So many members of my family and neighbors have suffered from fracking,” said Nielle. ”Anyone who lives in rural Alberta knows how dangerous it is and what damage it has done to people, livestock, and water. If we don’t do something, we will lose our groundwater.”

Nielle’s husband, Howard, a large man who loves nothing more than tending to his cattle, said the whole experience has disheartened him: ”I have no faith in government. I’m totally disgruntled.”

The Hawkwoods aren’t the only disgruntled ones in the province’s iconic foothills north of Cochrane.

Gary Tresidder, a retired dentist, said he nearly died after being overwhelmed from the burning of toxic raw gas full of contaminants from nine wells over a period of 18 months between 2012 and 2014.

”I was so sick, I could barely walk up the stairs or remember my name. It was like living in a blast furnace… We lived in terror for nearly two years, that’s for sure.” His daughter got severely ill and so, too, did two horses, he said.

Tresidder said that he knows at least two dozen people who suffered health problems they attribute to nearby fracking operations. Their symptoms ranged from hair loss to third-degree skin burns.

Tresidder wrote hundreds of letters to politicians, regulators, and public health authorities but to no avail, he said.

He described the AER report as a ”childish brush-over to fool people… there were no medical citations. It was embarrassing to read.”

After sitting for three years on the Cochrane (Lochend) Air Quality Technical Working Group chaired by Alberta Health Services, Tresidder said he resigned last year when the group failed to do anything.

”I was so disappointed. ‘Why are you ignoring all of the medical studies on fracking?’ I asked them. They said, ‘We’ll look into them,’ but they never did.”

The Alberta Health Service said it provided data to local residents as well as information on how to access services.

According to Heather Kipling, a senior communications advisor with AHS, local complaints were ”consistent with the health effects associated with air pollution contaminants,” but that studies ”conducted thus far are inconclusive to be able to attribute the illnesses to oil and gas development.”

The AHS added that there might be a ”potential future role for Health Impact Assessments as part of the approval process for significant industrial development to more accurately identify and assess potential health risks.”

Dan Thomas, a retired oil and gas engineer who also lives in the Lochend area, described the fracking boom that overwhelmed the community as ”chaos.”

He asked the regulator to do a risk assessment on high-volume horizontal drilling but said the regulator ”couldn’t even acknowledge or understand the problem.”

”The absence of a precautionary principle is atrocious,” he said. He, too, supports the Hawkwoods’ call for a moratorium.

”Let’s stop this until we can put an appropriate process in place with a real risk assessment. Fracking is fraught with all kinds of issues and we have to assess the risk properly.”

Prevent Cancer Now, a Canadian civil society organization comprised of scientists and health professionals, recently noted that ”the AER has no jurisdiction for human health, and Alberta is famed for a chill against the medical community linking ill health to petrochemicals.’

Alberta NDP convention resolutions include fracking ban and end to daylight savings, Some suggestions from grassroots members may not even make it up for debate, however by CBC News, June 10, 2016

A moratorium on fracking and an end to daylight savings are among the resolutions at the Alberta NDP convention this weekend.

Other proposals from the party’s grassroots include separation of the provincial NDP from the federal NDP and a call to stop advocating for pipelines.

It’s doubtful some of the more outlandish ideas will be approved, let alone make it to the floor for debate.

Moratorium would be ‘naive,’ says minister

On the issue of pipeline development, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Deron Bilous said the government has been “unequivocally clear” in its support for both Trans Mountain and Energy East.

“There are some within our party that are members that believe that we shouldn’t be going ahead with that,” Bilous said.

“To put a moratorium on a pipeline, quite frankly, is naive,” Bilous added.

“Pipelines are the safest mode of transportation, and we’ve been very clear that we will continue to work with our provincial and federal counterparts in order to move projects forward.”

Motions to bump the items on fracking and pipelines closer to the front of the agenda were defeated on Friday, as the convention got underway.

With 64 resolutions on the agenda, it’s unlikely all will make it up for discussion before the convention ends on Sunday afternoon.

Happy New Democrats still pinching themselves at first post-victory convention by Don Braid, June 10, 2016, Calgary Herald 7:57 PM MDT

Grin and gloat — those were early themes of the NDP’s first post-victory convention.

It’s being held at the Hyatt Regency Calgary, the biggest upgrade imaginable from NDP venues where there was always a chance the members would collide with the fumigators.

“I still feel like pinching myself sometimes,” said Education Minister David Eggen, glancing around in wonder at the fancy fixtures [With non flammable water running from taps?] and the surge of delegates.

[Meanwhile, in Encana’s Illegally Frac’d Rosebud:

2011 05 03 Jessica Ernst presents on fracing being unsafe & unstainable, United Nations, New York City

More than 800 are attending, a healthy number, although it has to be noted the Progressive Conservatives drew more than 1,000 to their convention in Red Deer last month.

There was a lot of applause, especially for Premier Rachel Notley, and abundant glee from panelists who recounted successful election stunts and strategies.

“Let’s face it, we kicked ass,” said Brian Topp, communication director on the 2015 campaign, and now Notley’s chief of staff. [Or, did the NDP win because abused Albertans had finally had enough of the PC’s more than 40 years of slithering catering to oil industry evil, greed and corruption? Are the NDP walking the path in Hell?]

Mutual backslapping is certainly in order, but Topp was also right when he said that today’s PCs “are not to be underestimated.”

With Wildrose indulging in another round of self-cannibalization, the old govenment party is starting to look more viable.

Former MLA Bob Hawkesworth alluded to one of the NDP’s problems — internal opposition from the ideological left of a government that’s almost herniating itself to appear [or be] supportive on pipelines and the energy industry.

“A lot of members still think they’re in opposition,” said Hawkesworth, who’s now director of stakeholder relations at McDougall Centre.

“After 44 years of being in opposition, it’s hard to make the adjustment. There’s a little bit of that in the agenda today.”

He was talking about a pair of resolutions that could have come from the Leap Manifesto crowd at the recent federal NDP convention in Edmonton.

One was a bitter attack on fracking [Nielle Hawkwood, long time Alberta rancher far from the Leap crowd, wrote the frac ban resolution, presented it at the 2016 NDP Rural Caucus NDP AGM where it passed, after with much contentious debate]; the other would prohibit the government from endorsing any pipeline proposal that didn’t already have full First Nations’ approval.

After the premier spoke and the youth band marched out, proponents immediately tried to move the motions up that list.

This would have ensured they were debated early. It could also have brought the convention to a halt because, as the party president said, these are complex and emotional issues that could take a long time to work through.

The motions were shot down by majorities topping 80 per cent. That showed the party is firmly behind Notley’s moderate stance. [Or shows how evil, corrupt and abusive the NDP are, copying the PC’s big oil ways?]

This is a very young group with a great many members in their 20s and 30s, including urbanites, but a fair measure of rural people too [INCLUDING THE WRITER OF THE FRAC BAN RESOLUTION! DOES DON BRAID THINK NAOMI KLEIN WROTE IT?]. Sometimes the NDP can look pretty much like Alberta’s future. [Ya, look a-likes to the Alberta PC’s and Steve Harper’s Big Oil Government of Canada]

Partly because of the youth thing, though, some Albertans tend to see the New Democrats as a pack of feckless rookies. In fact, at the party level, it’s a disciplined crew that brings to mind the tight ships of the PCs’ glory days. [Imprisoned by a choking collar of greed, Encana AER et al?]

Already, they’re a classic government party that knows what to reveal and what to hide.

All the debates over resolutions are closed to the news media. This is inevitable after a party takes power, but the NDP is quicker about it than most.

One intriguing motion seeks an organizational split between the provincial party and Tom Mulcair’s federal New Democrats.

After the leadership drubbing he took in Edmonton, Mulcair himself might be happy with that.

Maybe Notley would too, someday, if federal riding associations begin to endorse the Leap agenda of shutting down fossil fuel production and refusing pipelines.

But for now there isn’t much will for “separation” — the movers call it that — in the party or from Notley herself.

This motion is exactly where the organizers want it, second from last, so deep on the list that the delegates may never get to talk about it.

First impression of this convention? Other parties should heed the advice Brian Topp gave his own. Don’t underestimate these people. [Emphasis added]

One of the Comments:

George Morenstein · General Manager at Calgary Roofing

I’ll say it, just in case they (politicians) might think we’re all rubes. Canadian politicians are like kindergarden students all puffed up on their infantile egos. Pathetic, to the observer of world history.

About as worthy of note as someone climbing an Alberta foothill on the outskirts of Cochrane in the big picture of things, that in the end, doesn’t amount to diddly squat, and is for all intents and purposes, illusory.

We don’t even need politicians in this country anymore.

Their usefulness is negligible and at times, quite often detrimental to our over-all well being.

Next time a Third World country goes hungry, I say we export the carcasses of our unnecessary civil servants, as sustenance to the beleagured.

Win/Win. [Emphasis added]

AIMCo invests $200 million in Calfrac Well Services by Edmonton Journal, June 10, 2016

The Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo) announced Friday it’s investing $200 million in Calgary-based hydraulic fracking company Calfrac Well Services Ltd.

AIMCo, which handles $90-billion worth of assets for 31 provincial pension, endowment and government funds, is providing the firm with a $200-million term loan with a nine-per-cent annual interest rate, according to a news release.

In conjunction with the loan, AIMCo has been issued 6.9 million warrants to buy Calfrac common shares for $4.14 each by June 2019.

The shares closed Friday at $3.11, up 38 per cent in the last five days.

Calfrac will use the loan for working capital and general corporate purposes, including repaying all of its current bank debt and the borrowings of Calfrac Well Services (Argentina) S.A.

The company provides specialized oilfield services to exploration and production companies to increase production of hydrocarbons from wells drilled in western Canada, the United States, Russia, Argentina and Mexico.

Some of the comments:

Peter Mcclure
‘For pensions, endowments and government funds’?

I DO hope this doesn’t mean the government is giving even more subsidies to the energy companies!

Christina Lawrence · Edmonton, Alberta
Subsidies don’t have interest rates attached or warrants for share price setting.

Peter Mcclure
Christina Lawrence according to the IMF, energy companies get $10 million per minute in subsidies!

But my point was that I don’t think tor government should be investing our money to help energy companies pay their bills. In view of the collapsing investment by the markets in fossil fuels, this looks less like a good investment than a subsidy.

Jason Poirier · CDI College
well hopefully we can get fracking banned before they start.

Diana Daunheimer
Before they start? Fracking started in earnest in Alberta over ten years ago, there have been thousands of fracced wells in our province and communities, oil, gas, even SAG-D wells are fracced. Review the CNRL Primrose leaks for reference.

The NDP have no intention of banning fraccing. The Climate Leadership Plan endorses fracced natural gas, referring to it as “clean” with “limited adverse impacts”. Over 60% of the electrical load retired from coal is set to be replaced with fracced gas and the Modernized Royalty Review implements increased incentives for high risk, deep, unconventional wells-with some of the lowest royalty payouts ever, thanks to the “revenue minus costs” formula.

All my correspondence to the Premier, Health, Environment, Energy and Education Ministries on the public health hazards and environmental impacts of fracking, including serious concerns over our corrupt regulatory system and inadequate environmental monitoring have been disregarded, even deleted from elected officials pages.

Diana Daunheimer (appearing censored by the Edmonton Journal, re not visible to the public unless logged in to Facebook):

AIMCo-George Gosbee on the Board of Directors with affiliations galore- Altacorp, ATB, Acapella, NW Upgrader, of course, he is also an advisor/director/past chairman of the School of Public Policy at the U of C.

When you get into the details of these folks, it’s no wonder they will service the debt and trade shares for Calfrac. The Haskayne School of Business has indoctrination down to an art. Where will the money end up, Barbados, the British Virgin Isle? Where did it come from, the Heritage Fund maybe? Yes, AIMCo manages the Heritage Savings Trust Fund for the province. Nevertheless, the end game is to hoard the billions they make from unsustainable energy investments that impart huge risk to the environment and untold public health damage. By the time the public is aware they have been used and tossed aside by the likes of AIMCo and our elected officials, these oligarchs are having high tea in London.

Incon Xian · P.eng at Electrical Engineering
Yes. Let’s all sit at home, in the dark with the lights off. And it’ll be cold, with the heat turned down. Great way to kick start the economy. This is fracking like rogue drillers in North Dakota, the majority of fracked wells are way out in the Pembina oilfield or way out past Whitecourt where no one lives. Clearly if you were to have a ground water well and someone fracked near you hat would be cause for concern. Luckily we have a huge process for drilling wells near farms and dwellings. [That companies routinely abuse, with the regulators’ blessings. The regulators and elected officials did nothing to enforce the laws and regulations Encana violated when the company illegally fractured directly into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, and fractured into the fresh water zones on hundreds of gas wells in the community in secret.] The amount of royalties and work enjoyed by this province because of fracking is significant. [The suffering endured because of fracturing is also significant. Many Albertans are forced to suffer, with groundwater, air, land, livestock, food and public health poisoned?] Or we could all just sit at home. At least is hardly costs anything to troll The EJ comment board.

Diana Daunheimer
Incon Xian
Dear Xian,
You are incorrect on the placement of fracked wells in Alberta. We live by Didsbury, just North of Calgary, we have 6 wells within 500m of our home. There are thousands of wells in our community. The Lochend Region North of Cochrane has been fracced hard, so has Drumheller, Edson, Rosebud, Rocky, Cardston, Warburg, Camrose, I could go on and on and on, but won’t. There are over 600,000 wells in Alberta, you can find them all with programs like AbaData, or you can review the lists of wells in the AER data base, follow the public notice of applications and approvals or review any core asset area of E&P’s in the province. Fracking is everywhere in Alberta and it has not been a boon for our economy, in case that was not obvious by the debt of Alberta producers. 

What is this lucky “huge process” you speak of? Through dozens of wells near our home, we had no rights whatsoever. No water testing, falsified public notices, non-compliant venting, no air quality monitoring or noise studies, nothing. The process is this; 100m setback (more for sour gas, depending on ppm and pressure) from a hazardous operation that will impact your health and safety and enjoyment of your property for a lifetime, you don’t like it, too bad. If you refuse access to your land, the SRB signs a Right of Entry Order and the company drills against your will. Tens of thousands of ROE orders have been issued in Alberta.

Clearly, if you have contaminated ground water from industry operations, good luck to you in getting proper testing or remediation. Did you know the AER owns the Water Act now, but has no procedures with respect to hydraulic fracturing.

Finally, you must read the Modernized Royalty Review, when the “revenue minus costs” formula for deep, high-risk unconventionals takes effect, royalty generation will be at an all time low. [Emphasis added]

[A little Frac ‘n Greed Reality Check:

2016 04 04: How fast the greedy frac’ers fall: Privately held Sanjel broken up and sold to rivals, will only recover fraction of what it owes lenders

2015 03 12: Jack Shawn Eyles, 28, from Kelowna, dies fracking in NE BC for Calfrac (Nitrogen Pumping Division) on Progress Energy Canada Ltd. Site: “Not an explosion as we usually think, but an explosive or sudden release of extremely high pressure”

2015; Colorado Supreme Court: Antero/Calfrac lose ‘Lone Pine’ Order Escape in Frac Contamination and Health Harm Case, Win for William and Beth Strudley, forced to move their children after toxic chemicals contaminated their property

2014: Quite leveraged” Calfrac doubled capital spending for 2014 to expand in Argentina, Canada and US

2012: Marcellus lawsuits claim pay abuses, including one against Calfrac of Alberta

End Frac ‘n Greed Reality Check]

James Wood article below in the Calgary Herald was updated and changed, a lot (the Edmonton Journal version was not) at 7:38 PM. Resolutions slamming pipeline development, fracking before NDP convention by James Wood, June 10, 2016, Calgary Herald

While Premier Rachel Notley tries to position her NDP government as a friend to the oilpatch, New Democrats gathered in Calgary are considering resolutions taking aim at pipeline development and fracking.

The Alberta NDP convention that started Friday — its first since taking power in 2015 — will see more than 60 policy resolutions on the agenda for delegates to debate over three days.

Among them is a resolution from the Edmonton-Calder constituency association calling on the government to quit promoting or advocating for specific pipeline projects where First Nations and Metis communities, farm owners and municipalities raise objections.

Notley’s government is backing both Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of its Trans Mountain line to Vancouver and TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East project to the Atlantic coast, both of which face significant opposition from First Nations and municipalities.

NDP Economic Development Minister Deron Bilous said the policy proposals from members don’t change the government’s fundamental support for energy development and pipelines, both east and west. 

“Here at our party’s convention it’s normal these kind of topics are going to come to the floor and we’re happy to have that debate,” said Bilous.

“But as government, we’ve indicated the direction we’re going.” [Straight along the PC Big Oil Pimping Trail in Hell?]

The NDP government is trying to win “social licence” for pipeline projects through an aggressive climate change agenda that includes an incoming carbon tax and a cap on oilsands emissions.

Another resolution from the NDP’s rural caucus calls for a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing, pending independent scientific study on its impact on human and animal health and the environment.

Fracking has been used for decades in Alberta. [Refer below to submission to the US EPA by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, he summarizes well, problems with this typical industry/regulator deflection of the endless problems and harms caused by fracing] According to the provincial energy department, more than 80 per cent of producing oil and gas wells drilled since 2013 use hydraulic fracturing techniques.

The fracking and pipeline resolutions may never actually make it to the floor, as motions to move them up in the order of debate were resoundingly defeated. If they are not debated at the convention, resolutions go to the NDP’s provincial council for consideration.

“I think our members are by and large practical,” said NDP cabinet minister Brian Mason, who led the party before Notley.

But the energy resolutions drew condemnation from opposition parties.

Progressive Conservative energy critic Rick Fraser said it raises questions about what the NDP really believes.

“It’s quite concerning,” he said.

“We should be taking every opportunity for every single pipeline to get our products to tidewater [To spill toxic dilbit across Canada?] … within the NDP, the left hand better start talking to the right hand.”

Wildrose MLA Leela Aheer said it appears that Notley and her ministers have been unable to convince some of their own party members about the merits of the energy industry. 

“Have they not made themselves clear? Are they not advocating appropriately?” said the Wildrose energy critic. [Have they not threatened, abused and bullied enough?]

Resolutions were to be discussed Friday in closed-door panels of party members before going to the full convention on Saturday.

Policy proposals likely to make it to the floor include calls for the scrapping of Daylight time and for the use of inclusive LGBTQ language in schools. Among resolutions unlikely to be debated is a call for the creation of an exploratory committee to look into splitting the provincial NDP from the federal party.

Notley will address delegates Saturday and face a mandatory leadership review, which she is expected to sail through.

The NDP held only four seats, all in Edmonton, prior to the 2015 election, which saw it sweep to power with 54 seats, including a breakthrough 15 in Calgary, and unseat the four-decade-old PC dynasty.

More than 700 delegates are expected for the convention at the Hyatt Regency, a far cry from the party’s circumstances in its wilderness years, acknowledged Mason.

“I can remember some conventions where there were less than 100 delegates, and that was in Edmonton, so this is gratifying,” Mason told reporters.

“I could get used to it,” he joked. [Emphasis added]

Some of the comments:

Neil Robert
… The longer Alberta clings to a dying industry, the more trouble we are in.

Steve English
So anyone who questions fracking is a “far left radical”? You would then have to include all the countries and provinces which have legislated against this destructive activity: Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, New York State, Maryland, Vermont, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador – and many more – all left-wing extremists? Or do they see their water as more valuable to their people than profits to a multinational industry, and selling off resources on the cheap?

Original version of the article: Resolutions slamming pipeline development, fracking before NDP convention by James Wood, June 10, 2016, Calgary Herald
While Premier Rachel Notley is positioning her NDP government as a friend to the oilpatch, New Democrats gathered in Calgary will consider resolutions taking aim at pipeline development and fracking.

With the Alberta NDP starting Friday its first convention since taking power in 2015, more than 60 policy resolutions are on the plate for delegates to debate over three days.

Among them is a resolution from the Edmonton-Calder constituency association calling on the government to quit promoting or advocating for specific pipeline projects where First Nations and Metis communities, farm owners and municipalities raise objections.

Notley’s government is backing both Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of its Trans Mountain line to Vancouver and TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Energy East project to the Atlantic coast, both of which face significant opposition from First Nations and municipalities.

Notley told reporters Thursday she welcomed the opportunity to get feedback from party members at the convention but said she would also speak forcefully against NDP proponents of the Leap Manifesto, which calls for curtailing pipeline development and quickly phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

The NDP government is trying to win “social licence” for pipeline projects through an aggressive climate change agenda that includes an incoming carbon tax and a cap on oilsands emissions.

“Our government’s focus has been to reach out across the country to build relationships and to work with allies … to grow that greater understanding of the import of our energy industry to the national economy,” said Notley Thursday.

Another resolution from the NDP’s rural caucus calls for a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing, pending independent scientific study on its impact on human and animal health and the environment.

Resolutions will first be discussed Friday by closed-door panels of party members who will decide whether the policies will make it to the floor on the weekend for further debate.

NDP convention starts Friday in Calgary by James Wood, June 9, 2016, Edmonton Journal

Premier Rachel Notley may have brought the Alberta NDP to unprecedented heights, but she says she’s taking nothing for granted as party members meet this weekend.

More than 700 New Democrats will be in Calgary to attend their first convention since Notley led the party to its shocking win in last year’s provincial election.

Under the NDP constitution, Notley faces a mandatory secret-ballot leadership review.

“Well, you know, you never want to go into things sounding overconfident,” the premier told reporters at McDougall Centre Thursday.

“I’m going to do my best to make my case to members of our party and I hope they’ll be pleased with the work I’ve done so far.”

While the NDP’s precursor, the CCF, was founded in Calgary 84 years ago, the party had never formed government in Alberta before last year.

Since taking office, Notley’s government has faced low oil prices that have dragged down the provincial economy. It has also come under heavy fire over its whirlwind agenda, which has included corporate tax hikes, an energy royalty review and a sweeping climate change plan that [pimps hydraulic fracturing as clean and green] includes a broad-based carbon tax that will come into effect next year.

The agenda for the three-day convention includes policy debate, party development activities, a recap of the 2015 election and speeches by Notley, Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan and NHLer Andrew Ference. [Why leave out keynote by head honcho of master synergizer for big oil Pembina Institute?]

“We’ll have an opportunity to meet with the membership,” said Notley. “Quite honestly, I’ve been very busy over the last year and I haven’t had a chance to engage with members of my party as much as I would like to.”

The recent federal NDP convention in Edmonton saw the national party support further discussion of the Leap Manifesto, which has been harshly condemned by Notley and the Alberta NDP for its opposition to new pipelines and intention to phase out fossil fuels within a generation.

Notley said she didn’t know if there would be pro-Leap delegates at the convention [Did she punt all from the party?], but “people are very clear on what the position of our government is … I certainly will not hesitate in any way, shape or form to make that case again.”


MUST READ: Submission to US EPA, Public Comments on Hydraulic Fracturing Review by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, June 2016:

I am Anthony Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor Emeritus at Cornell University. I have followed the development of this EPA draft final report closely and participated in three of the workshops associated with it. I would first like to thank the EPA for its work under trying circumstances. It was clear from the beginning of the study’s scoping activity that the oil/gas industry wanted to severely limit the project to potential impacts on drinking water from hydraulic fracturing alone. I applaud the EPA for resisting this pressure and defining and executing its study within the scope of the entire hydraulic fracturing water cycle.

My major criticism of the draft final report is that it currently fails to address problems of scale and spatial intensity in this complete water cycle. There have been over 3.5 million oil and gas wells developed in the U.S., and over a million of those were fracked long before public concern about “fracking” became manifest and the Congress mandated this study. Why the intense concern 70 years after the commercial application of fracking? I assert that the answer, not yet properly regarded in the draft report, is the approximately 70,000 shale gas and oil wells developed over the last 20 years, and especially the majority of those developed over the last decade. Why should there be so much concern over so few wells? The answer is shale, not fracking per se.

First, shale gas and oil wells redefine the scale of the problem: the total amount of water and chemicals used in fracking those 70,000 wells far exceeds the total amount used in the million conventional wells previously fracked. Concomitantly, the total amount of waste flowback and so-called produced water emanating from those 70,000 wells far exceeds the total from those previous million fracked wells. Consequently, one should expect that the risks and impacts associated with such prodigious volumes being handled over such a relatively short time period, and in such relatively small enclaves, would be elevated beyond those previously seen.

Second, the geology and geochemistry of shale require markedly increased well spatial intensity, typically 8 or more wells per square surface mile. Each well is a potential leak path of hydrocarbons to USDW, and our research has shown that the rate of leakage from faulty casing and cement jobs in modern shale gas wells is no better than historical leak rates. One should therefore expect large numbers of incidents of water well contamination within counties of intense shale hydrocarbon development.

The most recent EIA natural gas supply projection has shale gas alone increasing by 93% between 2012 and 2040. Given historical decline rates in shale gas wells, there will need to be hundreds of thousands of producing shale gas wells in 2040, and millions of wells drilled before then. The draft report utterly fails to project the scale and spatial intensity issues I just described onto this incredible number of projected wells.

The draft report is a wanting snaphot of the present impacts on the hydraulic fracturing water cycle, it fails completely to credibly address the future impacts.


Letter by Nielle Hawkwood, writer of the Alberta NDP Rural Caucus Frac Ban Resolution, to the Edmonton Journal (not published by the Journal)

Date: March 24, 2016 at 8:40:57 AM MDT
To: lmotley at

Dear Editor,

As one of the many Albertans who have been negatively affected by horizontal hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and as a member of the Alberta NDP, I attended the recent AGM of the NDP Rural Caucus. The membership passed the following resolution:

Be it resolved that the Alberta NDP calls on the Provincial Government to:

1. Declare a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing pending independent scientific study to determine the effects of all operations on human and animal health, and on the environment, including thorough investigation of effects on air, land and water.

2. Declare nondisclosure agreements in landowner contracts regarding information on effects of the technology on air, land or water to be illegal.

3. Remove “right of entry” legislation, which renders useless any attempt to obtain reasonable compensation for landowners.

I hope that our Party and our Government will consider the lives and health of Albertans and of our future generations, who depend on our actions today to preserve fresh water and a healthy environment for their survival. I hope that this resolution will be acted upon without delay.


Nielle Hawkwood
Cochrane, Alberta

(I have attached the entire text of the preamble and background statement for this resolution for your information) [Emphasis and links added]

Environmental Malpractice by David Sedlak (Editor-in-Chief), Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00462, Publication Date (Web): January 29, 2016, American Chemical Society

Professional societies established by doctors, engineers, and other highly trained specialists serve the needs of their communities by disseminating knowledge, advocating for the members’ interests, and creating a forum for the exchange of ideas. They also establish standards of practice to guide members and protect them from claims of negligence. Thus, a doctor who prescribes a drug that injures a patient can avoid liability if other members of the profession were unaware of its adverse effects when the recommendation was made. But if the drug had been prescribed after the medical association had warned its members of the problem, the doctor would not be protected from legal claims. In extreme cases of negligence, the doctor might even lose his or her license to practice.

Societies serving environmental professionals also establish standard practices. For example, the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and their counterparts in many other countries have articulated policies related to climate change. Not surprisingly, the statements indicate that anthropogenic activities are changing the climate and that members need to account for the effects of climate change on temperature, water availability, and more severe flooding in their work. The recommendations of these organizations on other topics are usually not as explicit as those for climate change. But as research moves from the conference session and scientific journal to the classroom and design manual, members of professional societies are expected to follow suit. For instance, modern biological nutrient removal techniques have advanced from research and development to routine practice over the past three decades. Thus, an environmental engineer who fails to recommend one of these designs to clients needing to meet more stringent nutrient discharge standards is out of step with their peers if they fail to consider these more effective systems in the retrofit of a wastewater treatment plant.

Despite the existence of standards of practice, environmental professionals who do not adhere to recommendations of their professional societies are rarely subject to personal liability, censure, or loss of credentials. Some of the highest profile cases of environmental professionals flouting established practices involve members who deny or intentionally underestimate the likely effects of climate change. For example, under pressure from politicians who deny the existence of climate change, the staff of the Texas Water Development Board does not explicitly consider the effects of climate change in their planning for the state’s future water needs. In 2015, investigative journalists at InsideClimate News documented the ways in which the leaders of Exxon-Mobil issued reports and gave speeches denying climate change well after the professional societies in which many of the company’s senior staff undoubtedly held memberships had issued policy statements that directly contradicted the company’s message.

The phenomenon of professional acting contrary to the best practices of their societies without consequences is not limited to climate change. Chemists and engineers have acted in ways that have jeopardized public health without fear of the kind of professional consequences routinely faced by physicians. From the public health officers and environmental engineers responsible for oversight of the drinking water system in Flint, Michigan to the mechanical and chemical engineers who helped Volkswagen cheat emissions testing systems, professionals occasionally act in ways that are contrary to established practices of their profession. In some situations, they engage in these actions to advance their careers. Other times, they do so out of fear that their employer would discipline them if they were to take a stand. They may realize the unethical nature of their behavior, but rarely do they also have to worry about the prospect of losing their professional standing.

The current response of professional societies is to shrug off actions of their members that run contrary to accepted practices related to public health and the environment. Organizations that depend upon dues-paying members [like the notorious, protect its own APEGA?] prefer the carrot of awards for exemplary behavior to the confrontational stick. Furthermore, it could be divisive for a professional society to develop a system to police the actions of its members.

[Refer also to:

APEGA [The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta] Dues Increase
Dec 17, 2014

Council Approves Dues Increase

Effective January 1, 2015, APEGA’s annual dues for Professional Members will increase to $324 from $290. The higher dues, which Council approved in December 2014, are necessary to help cover increased operating costs required to support APEGA’s strategic and operating objectives. [Help companies, the AER and Alberta Environment cover-up law violations by oil and gas companies that result in poisoning of families, communities and drinking water aquifers?]

To balance the budget, APEGA has also funded projects from its investment reserve, created other sources of revenue and created programming efficiencies. “I anticipate that we will likely not need to increase Member dues again until 2017, when APEGA’s next strategic plan kicks in,” said CEO Mark Flint, P.Eng.

The last increase was in 2011, although in 2013 the Association began charging the GST – an amount paid to the federal government. Including the GST, APEGA’s Professional Member dues in 2015 will be $340.20.

APEGA dues continue to rank midway among Professional Engineering and Geoscience self-regulating associations across Canada. [How can a self-regulating association have any credibility or trustworthiness? Especially if it’s more important to keep money flowing that to punt bad behaving, or even law violating members?] In 2015, dues levied by other associations will range from $252 to $450.

APEGA will post updated dues in January 2015. [Emphasis added]

The lack of a strategy for dealing with members who flout the environmental policies of their professional societies is unfortunate for three reasons: First, it fails to consider the demoralizing effect on the entire profession that comes with being part of a group whose members deny the existence of climate change, enable irresponsible chemical management, and engage in other unacceptable practices. Second, it weakens the resolve of members who resist pressure to behave in an unprofessional manner by undercutting the argument that the actions they are being asked to take could put them at professional risk. And finally, it runs counter to our efforts to provide the public with information needed to make sound environmental decisions.

As a practical matter, I believe that professional societies serving public health and the environment should clarify their positions on issues of major importance by creating more explicit policy statements and manuals of practice. Such documents will allow lawyers, politicians, and journalists who are critical of the actions of environmental professionals to document situations in which the actions that have been taken are inconsistent with professional norms. Although it may not be equivalent to medical malpractice in a legal sense, environmental malpractice—including negligent or unethical practices on issues of environmental concern—is a serious problem where the leadership of our professional societies is essential. Educators also can help by emphasizing ethical obligations and the need to stay up to date on changing professional practices. And finally, it would be helpful if, once in a while, our professional societies were to take a stand by revoking the membership and professional licenses of individuals who intentionally engage in practices that are contrary to the interests of the health and well-being of people and the planet. [BRAVO! Brilliantly written and direly needed, especially in Alberta and post-Harper Canada]

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