Skip to content

Newfoundland & Labrador fracking review fails to consider climate change

In December 2013, the Council of Canadians congratulated the Newfoundland and Labrador government on its decision to establish a de facto moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the province. At that time, we also called on the provincial government to consider a more comprehensive, independent and unbiased review as opposed to a government-led initiative and emphasized the impact fracking had on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Now, the Newfoundland & Labrador Independent reports, “Climate change will not be a priority for the province’s recently announced fracking review panel. The government-appointed panel has been tasked with assessing the hypothetical use of the controversial method of fossil fuel extraction in western Newfoundland. It has until October 2015 to present its final report to government, including a recommendation on whether or not fracking should be permitted in the province.”

“In a recent interview fracking review panel chair Ray Gosine told The Independent that the committee’s terms of reference are ‘to consider the implications of a particular type of oil and gas extraction in a particular geographic region, and within a particular socioeconomic context’ and that considering fracking in the context of climate change is ‘not what the panel’s about’.”

The article also notes, “The third part of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Fifth Assessment Report, released last April, argues natural gas could play an important role for economies transitioning from coal to renewable energy. Newfoundland and Labrador does not generate energy from coal, however, and as [fracking review panel chair] Gosine pointed out companies who have expressed interest in fracking here have said they would be looking for shale oil, not natural gas.”

“Angela Giles, Atlantic regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, said that ‘given the infrastructure that’s required, I’m not really sure why [fracked fossil fuels] would be considered as part of that category. Why we need a transition that requires that much investment in infrastructure, and also destruction of the environment and potentially water — I just don’t comprehend how people could think that this would be an appropriate [way to] transition.'”

The Council of Canadians is an active member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fracking Awareness Network (NL-FAN). We are calling for a full ban on fracking in Newfoundland and Labrador and in other Canadian and Indigenous communities.

Further reading
Council joins call for independent review of fracking in Newfoundland & Labrador (May 2014 blog)
The Council of Canadians raises concerns about fracking in Newfoundland (May 2013 media release)