Toronto – Today, Peter Tabuns, MPP for Toronto-Danforth, introduces a bill that would ban fracking in Ontario.
Other provinces such as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia already have similar bans. But if adopted, Ontario would be the most populous province to do so. In October 2014, an EKOS-Council of Canadians poll found that 75 per cent of Ontarians support a fracking ban.
“We welcome a fracking ban to protect the Great Lakes,” says Mark Calzavara, Ontario regional organizer with the Council of Canadians. “We urge the Ontario government to adopt this law: it would be responding to Ontarians’ legitimate safety concerns and protecting the future of the Great Lakes.”
In Ontario, fracking particularly endangers communities since some shale gas reserves are concentrated in densely populated areas of the province, in particular Southern Ontario off the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake Huron. To add to this, there are already major threats to the Great Lakes such as the Energy East pipeline, tar sands crude shipments by rail and tanker, and other extreme energy projects.
“If passed, this bill would signal the continuing wave of moratoria on fracking that we are seeing in Eastern Canada,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “A ban on fracking is needed to prevent the public health risks associated with fracking chemicals, avoid runaway climate change and combat declining water sources. We need to stop fracking to protect the waters of the Great Lakes once and for all.”
Ontario has experienced some of the worst droughts in the last two decades. Fracking would only make it worse because of the vast quantities of water required for the process.
“The massive amounts of water normally used in fracking projects would exacerbate the declining water sources in Southern Ontario. Governments have an obligation to ensure that communities are not competing with fracking companies for water,” adds Lui.
The province has already promoted opening up Southern Ontario to horizontal fracking. In 2010, the Ministry of Natural Resources released an aerial survey of shale formations in Ontario with the purpose of assisting gas companies in exploration. The Ontario Geological Survey, an arm of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, completed a three-year study on shale gas potential in the province in 2012.