Archive for the ‘fracking’ Tag

Oil train trouble in Toronto: citizens demand answers

A Toronto neighbourhood is taking the unusual step of asking the Auditor General of Canada to get answers to the urban community’s oil train concerns.

Oil trains in Toronto - Safe Rail Communities group
Oil trains rolling past a Toronto west end homeowner’s backyard at dusk. Photo by Safe Rail Communities.

A Toronto neighbourhood group, alarmed by what appears to be a surge in oil trains rumbling past their urban backyards, is taking the unusual step of urging the Auditor General of Canada to intervene to help it get answers to safety concerns.

The group, called Safe Rail Communities, says it has been asking basic questions to CN, CP Rail and the federal government about the safety of transporting these explosive fuels, but found the responses lacking.

“We’re getting stonewalled,” said Helen Vassilakos, co-founder of Safe Rail Communities, who lives near the train tracks.

“Transport Canada is refusing to speak with us and the minister is actually refusing to send anyone out to our meetings.”

Full story from the Vancouver Observer at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/oil-train-trouble-toronto-citizens-demand-answers

How to make an earthquake

Fox Creek, Alberta

Fox Creek, Alberta: ‘Location of earthquake consistent with being induced by hydraulic fracturing operations,’ says Alberta Energy Regulator spokesperson.

Did Alberta Just Break a Fracking Earthquake World Record?

Regulator says drilling likely triggered 4.4 temblor.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, – originally published in The Tyee

Hydraulic fracturing, a technology used to crack open difficult oil and gas formations, appears to have set off a swarm of earthquakes near Fox Creek, Alberta, including a record-breaking tremor with a felt magnitude of 4.4 last week.

That would likely make it the largest felt earthquake ever caused by fracking, a development that experts swore couldn’t happen a few years ago.

Fracking operations in British Columbia’s Montney shale generated similar seismic activity of that magnitude last year, and earthquake scientists at Ontario’s Western University are still analyzing the two events to see which is the largest.

 The full article is at:http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/01/29/Alberta-Fracking-Earthquake/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=290115

Global Frackdown

GLOBAL FRACKDOWN STARTS:

Majority of Canadians want fracking moratorium, says EKOS poll

October 8, 2014 – Media Release from The Council of Canadians

Global Frackdown

Today, (Oct. 8/14) the Council of Canadians released the results of an EKOS Research poll that found most people, regardless of political affiliation, support a fracking moratorium. Seventy percent support “a national moratorium on fracking until it is scientifically proven to be safe.”

“Regardless of age, region or education, people from coast to coast are calling for an end to fracking,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “Communities understand very well the impacts that fracking has on water sources, climate and public health. With the moratoriums in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it’s clearly the way communities want governments to go.”

Significantly, this support for a moratorium cuts across party lines: nearly half of Conservative voters support a moratorium. The highest support for a moratoria came from NDP voters: 87% of them support a national moratorium as do 78% of Liberal voters. Currently, the Green Party is the only party calling for a national moratorium.

“Based on these numbers, political parties may want to rethink their positions to put them in line with what the population wants. We’re urging NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to support a moratorium as the Green Party has,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians.

The results are being released leading up to the Global Frackdown on October 11. The Global Frackdown is an international day of action where hundreds of communities around the world call for a ban on fracking. Local Council of Canadians chapters are organizing events across the country on that day.

Fracking is a risky technique where sand, water and chemicals are injected into the ground to break apart rock formations to extract natural gas or oil. Communities have raised a number of concerns including excessive water use, water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions and health impacts of fracking chemicals.

While the provinces issue water and drilling permits, the federal government has a responsibility to regulate fisheries, environmental assessments, pollution prevention and oil and gas in First Nation reserves.

Other results:

  • 67% of people are aware of fracking (25% are very aware; 42% are somewhat aware)

  • 70% of people support a moratorium on fracking, which is fairly consistent across age groups, regions, income groups and education

  • 78% of Liberal voters, 49% of Conservative voters and 87% of NDP voters support a moratorium

  • 53% of Liberal voters and 67% of NDP voters strongly support a moratorium

The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Survey results are statistically reliable in all major regions of Canada.

Read the media backgrounder and see the poll data tables.

Lac-Mégantic (5)

Willful Blindness?

 

Regulatory Failures Behind the Lac-Mégantic Disaster

This report, by CCPA Executive Director Bruce Campbell details eight key ways in which regulatory failure contributed to the Lac-Mégantic disaster. It chronicles how Canada’s federal regulatory regime failed – directly and indirectly – to prevent corporate negligence, for which the citizens of Lac-Mégantic paid a terrible price.

The report calls for an independent inquiry into the disaster. Part of the challenge in preventing another Lac-Mégantic is to keep the spotlight on its root causes – corporate negligence and regulatory failure – and hold to account those responsible, including those at the highest level of the responsibility pyramid.

To read a blog post based on the report, go to: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/newsroom/news-releases/new-report-chronicles-regulatory-failures-behind-lac-mégantic

– See more at: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/willful-blindness

Walking in the ‘Tar Sands’

Healing the wounded earth requires many steps – By Carolyn Pogue  July 3, 2014

It looked a little like a refugee camp, with small tents pitched cheek by jowl along a narrow strip of land by Lake Gregoire. It was in a way, considering what brought hundreds of us together was a flight toward sanity in a world hell bent on using fossil fuels.

We were welcomed to Treaty Six land from all around North America: the Northwest Territories, Victoria, B.C., Texas and Vermont. We were all ages: senior to babies at the breast. We were First Nation Elders and chiefs, artists, religious people, lawyers, actors, environmentalists, university professors and grandparents — simply citizens. This was the fifth and final Healing Walk organized by The Athabasca River Keepers. My husband, former United Church Moderator Bill Phipps, noted: “This was not about stopping a pipeline, it was about the healing of the land. People came great distances because they care.” To me, the weekend felt like a living, breathing prayer.”

On the first day, we listened to actor Tantoo Cardinal, activist Crystal Lameman, Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and other speakers whose passion and tenderness for Earth were inspiring. Annette Campre from Fort McKay First Nation told a silent crowd that she hasn’t used her tap water for 10 years. It is unsafe. “In my community we bathe babies in bottled water,” Campre said. I thought about donations I’ve made to Ryan’s Well, an organization that digs water wells in Africa. In Canada, we have an abundance of safe drinking water, but when there is oil in the ground, it may be poisoned, like in Fort McKay, Fort Chipewyan and other places downstream. Fracking poisons water, too. At the school on the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta, you can light the tap water on fire. Dr. John O’Connor, who was removed by the federal government from Fort Chipewyan after he spoke about detecting an abundance of cancers, also addressed us. Others spoke of skin rashes and persistent pneumonia, as well as fish with bulging eyes and skin diseases.

Healing Walk: Crystal Lameman explains protocol at the Healing Walk. Photo by Carolyn Pogue

Healing Walk: Crystal Lameman explains protocol at the Healing Walk. Photo by Carolyn Pogue

But we also heard of the unanimous and hearteningSupreme Court decision that traditional Aboriginal lands can be protected under law. We ended this day dancing to the beat of Dene drummers around the sacred fire.

The next morning, we walked 13 kilometres along a highway to see the wounded Earth, tailings ponds, scarecrows, relentless canons and extraction plants. The drums kept our spirits up, but some could not help but weep. Seared in my memory is an image of 13-year-oldTa’Kaiya Blaney, a Sliammon First Nation actor, songwriter and singer. We stopped to rest, sitting in the grass by the roadside while Ta’Kaiya sat apart. For a long time, I watched her look out over the poisoned water at the belching smoke stacks. I imagined she was looking into her own future.

Ta’Kaiya, like many others, wore a mask during the walk; the air is foul. The grass was, too. The next morning, we saw angry red rashes on some people who sat on the grass wearing shorts.

At the end of the walk, Bill thanked the RCMP officers who had accompanied us. One said: “You guys are great. You’re doing a good thing.” And so we were. After a feast, the dancing went on half the night, sending our prayers out to the world.

What’s Missing from Canada’s Fracking Debate?

Andrew Nikiforuk, who has authored several books and articles on the energy industry, discusses four important questions in response to the question above. These questions are a valuable contribution to a debate that is happening across Canada, among concerned citizens.

1. How do you fix polluted groundwater or, even worse, a fracked aquifer?

 

2. How do you prevent regulatory capture?

 

3. How do you control a non-linear process?

 

4. What about shallow formations and the case of Jessica Ernst?

The full article from Nikiforuk can be found at:

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/07/02/What-is-Missing-from-Fracking-Debate/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=020714

 

Fracking Growth Outpacing Scientific Knowledge in Canada: Report

One of Canada’s premier scientific bodies has issued a critical report on the state of hydraulic fracturing in the nation, saying the industry has outpaced credible baseline data, scientific knowledge and necessary monitoring.

A commentary by Andrew Nikiforuk is available at:

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/05/01/Frack-Slow-Report/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=010514

NorthernRoads.jpg

Photo of frack fields in northern B.C. by Hayley Dunning.

Watershed moments by Sara Stratton

Orca Carving by Dora Edwards. Photo: Sara Stratton, 2013.

 

This reflection by KAIROS staffer Sara Stratton could be a “watershed moment”. Sara reflects on the connections between the Truth and Reconciliation commission and the pursuit of Watershed Discipleship. What will your “acts of kindness bespeaking kinship” be?

I hope that it will help you begin 2014  with hope for our common future, and peace for all God’s creation. To see the entire reflection, please click here.