Open house tries to allay fracking fears

Open house tries to allay fracking fears by Nick Kuhl, May 29, 2013, Lethbridge Herald
Those residents interested in finding out more information had the option of attending a hydraulic fracturing open house at the Coast Hotel Tuesday afternoon, hosted by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), which represents all of Canada’s pressure pumper companies. … Mark Salkeld, PSAC’s president and CEO, provided a “fracking 101” speech and then, along with other oil and industry representatives and regulators, answered questions from the gathered crowd. He said producers have been drilling in this manner since the 1940s but it has only become a bigger issue in recent years as technology has advanced and wells move closer to communities. But he maintained that protecting health, safety and the environment remain their top priorities. “We live and work in and around all of these communities,” Salkeld said. “We need to go into these communities and talk about what we do and explain our side of the story from people that actually do the work. It’s very, very important that we get out there and not just talk about what we do, but have conversations with folks in the communities and hear their concerns.” PSAC forecasts that more than 7,600 new wells will be drilled in the province this year, although Salkeld didn’t have specific numbers for southern Alberta. Those against the notion of fracking often cite issues such as the potential for poor health effects and air quality, fresh water depletion and surface contamination. But Salkeld contends the technology is vastly improved, safe and allows far better access to formations they’ve known about for a long time. There has already been heavy activity around Milk River, and increased drilling is expected in areas around Lethbridge due to deep formations and as exploration of the Bakken reserve continues. “The potential is there. One of the popular resources in this area, to the best of my knowledge, is dry gas and some liquids-rich gas. That’s definitely going to be of interest,” Salkeld said. “Keep an open mind and talk to the folks that they see on the ground here. We’re happy to talk about it and allay any fears. I really appreciate the turnout and the interest. I think we were successful today and had some good interest.” There is also a new website launching in Alberta on July 1 where the liquids used in hydraulic fracturing sites need to be fully disclosed to the public. Currently only the regulators receive this information. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: ERCB Lawyer 2012 letter to Ernst: “However, the ERCB does not currently require licensees to provide detailed disclosure of the chemical composition of fracturing fluids.” ]

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