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Council of Canadians calls on Alberta NDP to implement a moratorium on fracking

Will Rachel Notley and Brian Mason take action to protect water from fracking?

The Council of Canadians helped to establish the Alberta Fracking Resource & Action Coalition (ABFRAC), a network of organizations and individuals concerned about fracking in their province.

Now two member of ABFRAC are calling on the Alberta NDP to act on their past statements on fracking.

In August 2012, then-NDP environment critic Rachel Notley expressed concern about fracking, the five million cubic meters of water the province had approved for it in 2011, and called for an independent scientific review of fracking. She stated, “If we don’t get a better … understanding of what’s safe for Albertans, we run the risk of doing some really long-term damage. In Alberta, we have no regulation — at all — that specifically covers fracking activity. [Questions need to be answered before] we start holus-bolus giving out water to the fracking industry without knowing the safety that needs to come along with that.”

In February 2014, CBC reported, “Alberta’s NDP leader [Brian Mason] says fracking has increased dramatically in the province and he wants more information about the impact on drinking water. Alberta government statistics show there has been a 647 per cent increase in hydraulic fracking licences, from 203 in 2012 to 1,516 last year. He said, “We don’t know the environmental impact and we also don’t know the potential impact of this process on drinking water. …We just don’t know the impact that this is having either on the environment in the surface – or beneath the ground – and the impact that it may have on drinking water.”

Notley became the leader of the NDP in October 2014 and the first NDP premier of the province on May 24, 2015. Mason is now the Minister of Infrastructure, the Minister of Transportation and the Government House Leader. But after a year in power, their government has not taken action reflective of their past statements on fracking.

As early as June 2015 the Calgary Herald reported, “In opposition, the NDP described fracking in Alberta as ‘out of control’ and demanded an independent review of its impact — especially on the province’s water supply. Now that the NDP is in power, it’s depicting an independent review as only one option to deal with the controversial energy extraction process, even as new concerns are raised about earthquakes potentially being caused by fracking. NDP Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd [now says] she could not say whether there is too much hydraulic fracturing in the province.”

So ABFRAC members Nielle Hawkwood and Regan Boychuk have put forward resolutions on fracking that will be voted on at the Alberta NDP convention this coming June 10-12 in Calgary.

The Council of Canadians is supporting their call for a moratorium and a comprehensive expert study on fracking with this petition that is encouraging members of the Alberta NDP to back those resolutions.

Edmonton-based Council of Canadians organizer Diane Connors says, “The damaging impacts of climate change are taking their toll on people and on clean water sources in Alberta. Last summer, the province declared a state of agricultural disaster. Record level droughts affected farmers, First Nations, landowners and residents. Yet fracking projects continue to compete with communities, farmers and local economies for scarce water sources. As these projects continue to expand, they are using and contaminating large amounts of water, affecting human and animal health, and contributing to the climate change crisis that will increase the frequency and severity of climate change impacts. We must make changes for the better in this province – quickly.”

If you live in Alberta, please sign our petition supporting an expert study and a moratorium on fracking in that province.