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Quill Plains chapter holds public forum on oil and gas extraction in Saskatchewan

Eaton and Zink at the public forum organized by the Quill Plains chapter.

Eaton and Zink at the public forum organized by the Quill Plains chapter.

The Council of Canadians Quill Plains chapter recently organized a public forum in the community of Muenster (located about 125 kilometres east of Saskatoon) on the impacts of oil and gas extraction in Saskatchewan. The event featured University of Regina professor Emily Eaton and photographer Valerie Zink who reported on their fact-finding tour of some of Saskatchewan’s oil and gas ‘hot spots’ last summer.

Chapter activists Elaine Hughes and Margaret Lewis write, “Saskatchewan is now the country’s second largest oil producing province, with its recent boom attributable in significant part to unconventional oil extraction. …Using a series of graphs and maps slides, Dr. Eaton described the province’s current oil ‘revolution’ – the boom – as the site of a large oil experiment in which inherently risky extraction technologies, along with enormous amounts of water and energy, are being used to extract heavier, harder to reach and/or immature sources of this ‘unconventional’ oil from the earth.”

They add, “Unfortunately but not surprisingly, this frenetic activity has given Saskatchewan the highest Greenhouse Gas Emissions rate per capita in Canada, with 21% being ‘fugitive’ emissions coming from the oil and gas industry, mostly knowingly through flaring and venting, or by escape.”

And they note, “Looking specifically at fracking, while the number of new Horizontal Fracked wells in Saskatchewan has increased from just 12 in 1990-2000 to 3,197 in 2013, there have been very few additions made to regulations since 1985 which specifically address fracking, leaving it to the industry to self-regulate.  In fact, the only guideline addressing this activity, entitled Saskatchewan Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids and Propping Agents Containment and Disposal Guidelines came into existence in 2001. The negative impacts of fracking are numerous and profound: it appears that directives are weak; regulators are extremely under-staffed and, on occasion, have been found to be industry-friendly.”

To read the full report by Hughes and Lewis on the public forum, please click here.

Further reading
Saskatoon chapter calls for an end to methane venting and flaring (campaign blog)
Fracking in Saskatchewan (from A Fractivist’s Toolkit)