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NEWS: Prentice says federal fracking regulations are still being drawn up

The Canadian Press reports that, “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.”

In early September, 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 hydraulic fracturing or ‘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 mid-September, the Montreal Gazette reported that, “Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. (Gary Doer) said (at a Global Business Forum in Banff) the growing shale-gas industry south of the border will start gaining prominence on the U.S. agenda, regardless of outcomes in this fall midterm elections. ‘We’re going to be dealing with a lot more, I think bipartisan support, to move ahead quickly in the United States on shale gas,’ (he said). ‘Get your running shoes on… in terms of what that means for opportunities for all of us.’”

Last week, a report released by the water program at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs highlighted, “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,” Ben Parfitt, the report’s author, “said 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. … The pace of the shale gas revolution demands greater scrutiny before more fracture lines appear across the country.”

The full article is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/shale-gas-rules-still-being-crafted-prentice/article1758796/.