If there is one thing I learned on Rising Tide’s Building Resistance Tour, it is that…umm. Okay, there isn’t just one thing I learned from the tour, but I definitely know that we need to stop future fracking projects in BC.
And that is why we are saying “Don’t Frack BC!”
On the tour, members of Rising Tide and I traveled along the route of the proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline and the Peace River Region, where fracking is currently happening. We visited numerous families whose water has been polluted by fracking, and they shared stories of how their water was contaminated as soon as fracking started near their homes. Their children’s skin burned, their hair began thinning, and the toilet water turned black. One family didn’t even let us sit down until we came into their house and smelled their tap water. After turning on their tap, the entire kitchen smelled like a gas station (and not when the smell is somewhat tolerable, but when it is absolutely vile).
Another rancher, who refused fracking well pads to be put on his farmland, drove us around his land and showed us all the fracking wells that surrounded his lands and where industry was planning on putting in more. He told us that the roads near his home were more dangerous now that industry trucks go racing by with little regard for locals: “Trucks go zooming by, and it is really dangerous. But they don’t care that there are kids running around, and they don’t care about the community. None of these folks are local.” This was a concern expressed by community members in all of the regions we visited that were impacted by rapid industrial expansion in BC, as well as the communities I visited in Alberta prior to joining the tour (Read the blog update about my visit to “Frack Alley” here).
This story is not unique to communities impacted by fracking. Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the types of jobs created in the Alberta Tar Sands in his book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent. After describing the long and harsh working conditions in the Tar Sands, he explains that many of the workers who are away from their families and friends end their days with drugs and alcohol, which leads to more incidents of gender-based violence. Rent and living expenses also rose dramatically in communities near the Tar Sands, and the same is happening in fracking country.
Photo Credit: Caelie Frampton. Stop the Fracking Pipeline, referring to the proposed Pacific Trails Pipelines through BC
There are more and more proposals for fracking wells, pipelines, and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities in BC; which shows that this sector will only expand unless we organize to stop it.
For those who do not know much about fracking, Council of Canadians has plenty of resources on fracking which you can check out at www.canadians.org/fracking and its impacts on water, climate change, and communities.
What you may not find up there just yet, however, is information about fracking specifically in BC—which is about more than just fracking in BC. With more fracking in BC comes more pipelines to transport this gas. These pipelines could be converted to tar sands pipelines if corporations feel that is more profitable, and then people would have to fight a tar sands pipeline in the region all over again. There are currently ten proposals for LNG facilities, all of which would come with tanker traffic off the Pacific Coast and through the Douglas Channel, known for its precarious waters and high winds. LNG facilities are energy intensive themselves and would require energy from other sources, like the proposed Site C mega dam which would destroy thousands of acres of farmland in the Peace River Region. For more information on how industrial projects in northern BC are connected, read this article and this article about the Carbon Corridor written by Damien Gillis.
With others, Damien has been working on the upcoming documentary Fractured Land which brings us to Treaty 8 territory and the Fort Nelson region where fracking is destroying the land, water, and people. Caleb Behn, an Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne Za/Cree from Treaty 8 territory also mentions that with fracking and industry has come substance abuse, gender-based violence, and a complete change of the landscape. Rivers are being dried up and water is being polluted.
For these reasons and many others, we need to stop future fracking projects in BC. Like our page on facebook www.facebook.com/DontFrackBC and follow us on twitter @DontFrackBC
Don’t Frack BC