Ottawa leaves fracking oversight to province, industry

Ottawa leaves fracking oversight to province, industry by Trish Audette, July 12, 2012, Edmonton Journal
But in the letter, other correspondence and briefing notes, and in an email response to questions, Oliver and his department made clear the federal government has no interest in inserting itself in the regulation of the practice, which injects water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressures to break up rock and free oil and gas. Fracking, critics say, can cause water contamination. In January, a well blowout near Innisfail was caused by fracturing and resulted in an oil spill. While the federal government is in-tent on promoting the product yielded by fracking in Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, and four other provinces, Oliver’s department said regulation falls under provincial jurisdiction. He has no intention of establishing a united Canadian approach to overseeing water use or monitoring the chemicals that are pumped deep underground. … “I would like to extend my thanks to the industry for publishing and implementing the hydraulic fracturing operating practices for shale and tight gas development.” But Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan said Oliver’s approach falls short of the role the federal government should be playing, which would include helping map ground-water and reviewing challenges and failures experienced in the United States. “If his idea of rules is (industry) come up with their own vague guidelines, sorry, that doesn’t cut it,” Duncan said. [Emphasis added]

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