PICTURED: Caleb Behn, Emma Lui, Dr Kathleen Nolan. PHOTO CREDIT: Council of Canadians
“Absence of proof of harm is not the absence of harm:” Indigenous lawyer and doctor call for federal action on fracking
Ottawa – This morning, Indigenous lawyer Caleb Behn, pediatrician Dr. Kathleen Nolan, and Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui presented to Members of Parliament and Senators urging meaningful action from the federal government on fracking. Officials in attendance included NDP Member of Parliament François Choquette, Liberal environment critic John Mackay, Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Senator Richard Neufeld, Senator Kelvin Ogilvie, Liberal water critic Francis Scarpaleggia and Senator Judith Seidman.
Caleb Behn, featured in the recently released fracking documentary Fractured Land, spoke about the land and water impacts that fracking has had on his homeland in Treaty 8 territory in northeastern British Columbia.
“We have some of the world’s biggest hydraulic fracturing operations in terms of volume of water used. Our people have been reporting anecdotally for quite a while about the issues associated with this development. It has become clear over time as the science catches up to people’s experience on the land adjacent to these developments that more has to be done,” said Caleb Behn in a press conference that followed the briefing. “We can’t race to the bottom line on energy and energy developments in this country without seriously considering the long term implications of these developments. There’s no technology on this planet that can reclaim a contaminated aquifer.”
Dr. Nolan, co-founder of the Concerned Health Professionals of New York, described the health impacts she observed associated with fracking, including children who experience seizures and chemical burns near well sites.
"A rapidly emerging body of scientific, medical, and public health data demonstrates a wide range of serious harms to environmental, animal, and human health caused by drilling, horizontal high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and its associated infrastructure," says Dr. Kathleen Nolan. “Canadian law makers should use every tool available to protect Canadians from earthquakes, from depletion of drinking water resources, and from toxic contaminations of air, water, and soil that have been shown to follow from fracking activities wherever they are undertaken around the globe."
Council of Canadians national water campaigner Emma Lui echoed calls for meaningful action from the federal government.
"There were 1,838 drinking water advisories at the end of January. We need a national water policy that addresses threats to water from fracking," said Lui. "With the upcoming federal election, the Council of Canadians hopes to see real federal leadership and commitments to protect communities, public health, our climate and our water sources caused by fracking."
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