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ConocoPhillips discloses toxic fracking fluids to be used in the NWT

CBC reports, “ConocoPhillips has released a report detailing the chemicals it plans to use when it drills horizontal wells in the Sahtu this winter. …Earlier this fall, the Council of Canadians asked the territorial government to investigate what chemicals ConocoPhillips planned to use.”

Sahtu region

Photo: The Sahtu Region is marked in white on this map.

The Northern Journal has reported, “Peter Redvers, co-chair of the Council of Canadians’ Northwest Territories chapter, said the entire debate over frac fluid disclosure arose in the territory because oil company ConocoPhillips, recently approved to drill two exploratory fracking wells in the Sahtu region, asked permission to keep some chemicals secret through a proprietary rights clause.”

The territory refused the request from the chapter, but the company has now taken this step.

Today’s news notes, “The Chemical Risk Management Plans says that water will be mixed with sand and chemical additives. The mixture will be pumped underground at a rate of up to 10 cubic metres a minute. The report says 8,000 cubic metres of water will be used for each well. The report also lists the health and environmental risks of the chemicals that will be added to the water base. Several are listed as carcinogenic (cancer causing) and toxic to humans. Others are identified as substances that should be kept out of waterways.”

Additionally, APTN has reported, “The Harper Government’s Northern Action Plan is forging ahead, and the first thing to go is local oversight for a little-known process of dealing with toxic waste water. …Until this year, the Northwest Territories local land and water boards were responsible for licensing ‘downhole injections,’ a process through which oil and gas companies get rid of the toxic fluid byproduct of drilling. …With one fell swoop of the regulatory pen, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development changed the rules. With no debate, and no legislation, licensing decisions regarding downhole injections were now the sole responsibility of the Calgary based National Energy Board. …It’s good timing for industry. ConocoPhillips is looking to begin a fracking well this winter, and is in the midst of evaluation by both the land and water board and the NEB. …The ConocoPhillips plan submitted to the Sahtu Land and Water Board proposes that the company ship the toxic wastewater to Alberta.”

In May, Redvers wrote, “Fracking will become a major issue in the NWT over the next few years, initially in the Sahtu region and then in the Deh Cho. …Water must be considered a human right and a public, not private, resource.”

Further reading
Concerns about the Giant Mine in NWT persist
Harper strips NWT water boards of licensing power