The Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports, “Responding to questions from NDP environment critic Megan Leslie (about fracking), environment minister Peter Kent noted that regulations for the sector were mainly a provincial and territorial responsibility, but acknowledged that there could be an emerging federal role.” Kent said, “The federal government has an interest and can involve itself when a threat is perceived and reported. Environment Canada is responsible for regulating toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, and where required, we will intervene.”
Almost a full year ago, in September 2010, the Canadian Press reported that, “The Conservative government has been warned that drilling for shale gas could boost carbon-dioxide emissions, encroach on wildlife habitat and sap freshwater resources. …The risks are outlined in briefing notes prepared last spring for Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis. (The briefing notes) warn the process of releasing natural gas from shale — called ‘fracking’ — could draw heavily on freshwater resources and significantly increase Canada’s overall carbon-dioxide emissions. The documents also say projects in areas without infrastructure may require the construction of roads, drill pads and pipelines, which could create ‘extensive habitat fragmentation’ for wildlife.”
In October 2010, the Canadian Press reported that, “(Environment minister) Jim Prentice says environmental regulations are still a work in progress for Canada’s booming shale gas industry, even though drills have already pierced the ground. …Mr. Prentice says environmental policies are still being drawn up, even though shale gas production is already underway in Western Canada.” Where are those policies now, or was Mr. Prentice simply stalling or even worse lying?
A University of Toronto report has stated, “To date, Canada has not developed adequate regulations or public policy to address the scale or cumulative impact of hydraulic fracking on water resources. …(Without a more robust regulatory approach) rapid shale gas development could potentially threaten important water resources, if not fracture the country’s water security. The federal government is virtually absent from the discussion, while provinces issue oil companies with individual water-use permits despite having little understanding of the cumulative impacts of increasing drilling activity, no public reporting on the chemicals or amount of industrial water withdrawals and no systematic mapping of the country’s aquifers.”