NDP: government must conduct independent review of fracking as water allocation outpaces scientific assurance

NDP: government must conduct independent review of fracking as water allocation outpaces scientific assurance Press Release, August 21, 2012
Alberta’s NDP environment critic Rachel Notley is renewing her party’s call for the government to undertake an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). “In the year ending June 2012 this government allocated as much water to the fracking industry as the city of Lethbridge uses in six months,” said Notley. “Yet there are just too many questions about fracking safety and its impact on Alberta’s water that this conservative government is unable to answer.” “I know that people in Lethbridge are concerned about water use in this part of the province,” said former Lethbridge-West NDP candidate Shannon Phillips. “Water is scarce here, and we all want to make sure that it’s being used to support the needs of people first.” Notley noted that although the government allocated a significant amount of water to fracking this year, they only started keeping track of water specifically used for fracking in February. Meanwhile, scientists have been calling for independent pre-fracking groundwater monitoring, and a scientific assessment of river inflow needs before further water allocation decisions are made. Cautious estimates suggest that 25% of abandoned wells have failed, with nearly 150,000 total abandoned wells in the province that could be impacted by fracking. “Just over a year ago, the NDP released information that the government and industry were working together on a public relations strategy to hoodwink Albertans into believing that fracking is safe, even though their own documents admitted the research was inconclusive,” said Notley. “At that point we called for a review of the process. A year has passed and while independent and scientific assessment and monitoring has gone nowhere, drilling approvals and water allocations continue like a Boxing Day sale at Future Shop.” “To date there have been over 4,000 applications for fracking permits and not one of them has been denied by this government,” said Notley. “When it comes to protecting Alberta’s clean water, I don’t like those odds.”

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