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Cowichan Conversations: Jessica Ernst Exposes Drilling and Fracking Crimes in Alberta

LeDaro: Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Fracking caused over 100 earthquakes in Ohio.

State geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquake activity in the Marcellus Shale basin to hydraulic fracturing, confirming the suspicions of activists pushing for drilling limits in the interest of public health.

State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers told The Associated Press on Friday that a state investigation of five small tremors in the Youngstown area last month has found a probable link.

He said Ohio is setting new permitting conditions in earthquake-sensitive areas and has halted drilling indefinitely at the site of the March quakes.

A seismologist with (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Maroc’s Public Letter to John Horgan Probably The New Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition

Don Maroc-Cowichan Conversations Contributor

It looks like the power brokers have decided that you are the NDP’s last hope for revival. Of course no one is saying anything like that John, but that’s what’s being bantered back and forth out here among what was once the NDP backbone.

Don’t be complacent when the party’s fixers hand you the mantel of leadership, that’s an empty shroud unless you can re-establish the NDP/ CCF link with the working people of B.C., the folks who built and maintained our once vibrant culture.

They are also the folks who have to get (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Pipelines in parks? Welcome to Super, Fracktural BC!


Cartoon and letter by Loren Craig – republished from his green briefs blog

An open letter to BC Premier Christy Clark – April 7, 2014

Dear Christy,

May I call you Christy? It seems appropriate, given your warm, woman-of-the-people style of governing. I’m a soccer parent too, so that puts us on the same sidelines, wouldn’t you say?

Anyhow, it’s about this Bill 4 thing. You know, the amendment to the BC Parks act brought in by your government on March 24th, 2014. The one that now allows industrial activities within BC’s Provincial Parks.

I would understand if you (Read more…)

the reeves report: U.S. energy called on to help West handle Russia

America should rethink overhauling energy export policy in favour of ‘drill, baby, drill’ simply to flex muscle against Russia over Crimean play.

Can boosting U.S. energy exports help declaw the prowling Russian bear?

In the weeks following President Vladimir Putin’s military expansion into Ukraine’s Crimean region, manipulating U.S. energy sources – the full spectrum of oil, natural gas and coal, in addition to alternative energy – has been thrown about as a possible way to demonstrate American resolve in standing up to foreign aggression overseas.

Enter energy. Veteran New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wondered aloud last week (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Rex Tillerson, you are a big, fat NIMBY

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson loves fracking other people’s back yards – just not his own

Dear Rex Tillerson,

I am writing to express my disappointment in learning that you recently opposed the construction of a water tower essential to shale gas development near your home in Texas.

As you and I both know, hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking”, as rabid environmentalist-types refer to it – is a game-changing technology that presents many wonderful opportunities to the American people and economy. Your company, ExxonMobil, has been a global leader in its development, for which I applaud you, as CEO.

I recognize (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Range Wars, 21st Century-Style

It’s a classic theme of the ‘wild west’ – range wars where free-range cattle ranchers clashed with farmers whose fenced fields blocked their way.  Today it’s a struggle between farmers and frackers and this time the struggle is over water, more specifically who gets it and who goes without.

This has been going on in Texas for some time and, generally, it’s the frackers who win.  Now the same thing has flared up in drought-stricken California, especially in the rich agricultural area of the Monterey Basin beneath which lies an awful lot of fossil fuel just waiting (Read more…)

Paul S. Graham: Warrior Up! The Mi’kmaq Struggle Against Fracking at Elsipogtog

Winnipeg, Feb. 17, 2014: Suzanne Patles of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society, speaking at Thunderbird House. Photo: Paul S. Graham

It is time to “warrior up” according to Suzanne Patles of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society. She spoke at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg on Feb. 17, 2014 as part of a national tour to raise awareness about the struggle at Elsipogtog First Nation against shale gas fracking and police repression, as well as their ongoing assertion of nationhood.

Their blockade in opposition to shale gas fracking at Elsipogtog First Nation (located in Kent County, New Brunswick) came to national attention on October (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- Michael McBane highlights one of the less-discussed changes in the Cons’ 2014 budget – as it officially eliminates the federal distribution of health care funding based on provincial need in favour of handing extra money to Alberta: The Harper government is eliminating the equalization portion of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) and replacing it with an equal per capita transfer. This means that less populous provinces with relatively larger and more isolated populations will have more and more difficulty delivering more expensive universal health services.

Likewise, provinces with relatively larger proportion of (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Selling prosperity in a time of austerity: Budget days in BC and Quebec

Two very different provincial governments tabled their budgets this week. The freshly-elected BC Liberals and the seemingly election-ready Parti Quebecois both delivered what they termed “responsible” budgets. While the two governments identify with opposing ends of the political spectrum and face distinct political climates, these differences did not prevent their budgets from displaying some eerie similarities. Since these budgets tell the same stories, they are laying the ground for a common response.

Although the BC and Quebec economies are often regarded as moving in opposite directions, their economic performance in the five years since the financial crisis has been quite (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Fracking in Canada: Why the Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” matters

by: Obert Madondo

In this age of the Harper Conservatives and a rampaging fossil fuel industry, Canadian anti-fracking activism requires more than a sense of environmental and social justice. It requires a toolkit of knowledge about what’s happening and how to effectively respond at the local, national and global level.

The Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” is one such toolkit.

The toolkit empowers Canadians to push back against fracking, protect Canada’s water sources, combat climate change, and partner with First Nations in their ongoing struggle to protect their besieged rights. It was inspired by the Council of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: David Suzuki: Trading water for fuel is fracking crazy

Fracking protest in New Brunswick (photo: Colin McPhail)

It would be difficult to live without oil and gas. But it would be impossible to live without water. Yet, in our mad rush to extract and sell every drop of gas and oil as quickly as possible, we’re trading precious water for fossil fuels.

A recent report, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Stress”, shows the severity of the problem. Alberta and B.C. are among eight North American regions examined in the study by Ceres, a U.S.-based nonprofit advocating for sustainability leadership.

Fracking happening is regions of “high water (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Chevron offers pizza to victims of fracking explosion

Read this Feb. 18 story from on Chevron’s offer of coupons for pizza to Pennsylvania residents affected by a massive explosion at a fracking site owned by the company.

Buy one explosion, get a pizza free.

Last Tuesday, residents of the small town Bobtown, Pennsylvania woke to an explosion and a massive, high-temperature fire, at the site of a fracking well owned by the Chevron corporation. It wasn’t just any fire, either. Wrote the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Feb. 12:

“More than 12 hours after an explosion that ‘sounded like a jet engine going 5 feet above (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Exploding BC LNG Myths – Part 1

The BC Government recently published an online quiz to “test the knowledge” of British Columbians on the coming LNG revolution.

It amounted to a propaganda exercise with the sole purpose of testing how well the BC Liberal LNG rhetoric has pierced the minds of the BC populace.

The infamous Harold Evans, longtime Editor of the Sunday Times of London and author of many books is quoted as saying:

Propaganda is persuading people to make up their minds while withholding the facts from them.

We used to rely on the muckrakers of the “fourth estate” to inform us of the goings-on (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Alberta fracking licenses soar by 650%, documents reveal

by Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

EDMONTON – Alberta New Democrats say newly released documents show fracking has become an unregulated free-for-all in the province with no regard for the impact on groundwater or on people’s health.

NDP Leader Brian Mason presented information Tuesday provided under freedom-of-information laws that shows the number of hydraulic fracturing licences granted by the province soared 647 per cent last year to 1,516.

Water withdrawals increasing dramatically

Mason said the amount of water allocated and used for fracking has increased even faster.

“Most Albertans don’t realize that fracking in Alberta is almost completely unregulated,” he told a (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Shale gas, LNG exports and the elephant in the room

I listened intermittently to the Public Proceedings of the Yukon Legislature’s “Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing” held in Whitehorse on January 31 and February 1. The presentations focussed mainly on the minutia of drilling, hydraulic fracturing, water consumption, environmental impacts, regulations, water contamination and so forth. These are certainly valid concerns, but the big picture as to why the BC and Federal governments are pulling out the stops to liquidate the natural gas resources of BC and the southern Yukon and NWT at an unprecedented rate, and the implications of doing so, were not discussed.

(Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Fracking tied to birth defects: Colorado study

Congenital heart defects are the leading cause of all infant deaths in the US

A new study, published last week in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, draws a correlation between birth defects and maternal exposures to natural gas.

After examining 124,842 births between 1996 and 2009 in rural Colorado, the study found a higher incidence of congenital heart defects (CHDs) and neural tube defects (NTDs) with infants whose mothers experienced higher exposures to natural gas.

The study (download pdf here) was led by researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health and Brown University, with support from The Colorado Department (Read more…)

LeDaro: Frucking fracking commercial and danger to environment

The following commercial – and similar commercials – are shown every day, singing the songs of fracking and how it is supposedly safe. The reality is quite different. Fracking causes serious health and environmental problems, including drinking water pollution and disposal of fracking waste-water (the latter is a common theme in the news in Nova Scotia where they are struggling with disposal of wastewater).

The Nova Scotia, and more so the New Brunswick, governments are enthusiastic about fracking. Some fracking has been done in Nova Scotia and it is very problematic for reasons stated above. Yet oil and shale gas (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Gas prices heat up as homes, shale gas wells face record chill

by Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press

NEW YORK – The frigid winter of 2014 is setting the price of natural gas on fire.

Friday, the price in the futures market soared past $5 per 1,000 cubic feet, up 9 per cent for the day to the highest level in three and a half years. The price of natural gas is up 29 per cent in two weeks, and is 50 per cent higher than last year at this time.

Record amounts of natural gas are being burned for heat and electricity. Meanwhile, it’s so cold that drillers are struggling to produce (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Geoscientist’s report undermines BC Government’s LNG figures

photo: Tina Lovgreen / BCIT Commons

Read this Jan. 22 story from The Globe and Mail’s Mark Hume on a new report from esteemed geoscientist David Hughes which suggests the Clark Government and national energy regulator’s LNG figures are more based on hot air than natural gas. The Common Sense Canadian covered Hughes’ report in detail this past week.

A former scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada has cast doubt on the B.C. government’s promise of an economic boom from increased liquefied natural gas production.

Premier Christy Clark has made gas development a cornerstone of her administration, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Shale gas expert drills 50,000 holes in BC LNG plans

Fracking operations in BC’s Horn River Basin (Two Island Films)

A new report from geoscientist and shale gas expert David Hughes offers a big reality check for BC’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. As a former 32-year veteran of the Geological Survey of Canada, Hughes led a national review of the country’s unconventional gas potential. Now, after drilling down on the BC Liberal government’s LNG vision, he has some sobering things to say about its promise of a $100 Billion “prosperity fund”, built on accessing new markets in Asia.

David Hughes

In a new report titled BC LNG: A Reality Check (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Canadians have a right to know about fracking, tar sands chemicals

Friday, January 17, 2014

Canadians may soon know more about the chemicals being used to extract bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands, thanks to West Coast Environmental Law and our colleagues at Environmental Defence and the Association Québécoise de Lutte Contre la Pollution Atmosphérique (AQLPA).  But, unless the federal government can be persuaded to drop it’s narrow interpretation of pollution disclosure rules, Environment Canada won’t be requiring oil and gas companies to provide information about what chemicals are used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This means that most Canadians will have little to no knowledge of the potentially harmful and toxic (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: New study shows Canadian industrialization in graphic detail

A visualization of industrial impacts across Canada as of 2010 (Global Forest Watch)

A national study suggests that Alberta has disturbed more natural landscape than any other province.

The analysis by Global Forest Watch adds that Wild Rose Country also has two of the three areas in Canada where the rate of disturbance is the highest.

“There were at least three major hotspots, two in Alberta,” said report author Peter Lee.

The report (download here) combines government data, satellite imagery and cropland maps to look at human intrusions in the last decade into all major Canadian ecozones. Those (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Associated Press investigation confirms fracking water issues in 4 states

Well water from Dimock, PA – like this jug taken in 2012 – prompted a controversial EPA study (

Read this Jan. 5 story from AP and USA Today, which dug into hundreds of complaints of fracking water contamination throughout the United States – ultimately confirming issues in four different states.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Researchers tackle fracking radiation

Wastewater from fracking can contain high levels of radiation (photo: J Henry Fair)

by Ramit Plushnick-Masti, The Associated Press

HOUSTON – Researchers believe they have found an unlikely way to decrease the radioactivity of some hydraulic fracturing wastewater: Mix it with the hazardous drainage from mining operations.

The wastewater is created when some of the chemical-laced water used to fracture thick underground rocks flows back out of the wellbore. The water is tainted with chemicals, toxins and in some parts of the country — such as Pennsylvania — naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as radium. Research has shown that even (Read more…)