Alberta asks public for consultations on fracking and water use

Posted Feb 18, 2013 by Grace C. Visconti
In a surprising move, Environment Minister Diana McQueen announced that the Alberta government would engage the public in consultations (February 19 - March 21) province-wide on the controversial hydraulic fracking practice and water use in Alberta.
Edmonton – Environment Minister Diana McQueen announced on Tuesday, February 5th, that the Alberta government would invest $1 million on consultations with Albertans across the province on the controversial fracking practice and water use in Alberta for the next 50 years.
Though opinions will be collected from public forums in 20 towns and cities across Alberta with the intention of taking information from the public to create a new water energy strategy, Albertans already have strong views about water. With the passing of the federal Bill C-45, some major environmental challenges loom on the horizon but no one seems to be listening to the concerns of Albertans about potential water contamination due to lax environmental laws recently passed.
However, the informative sessions will be three hours long and will focus on the state of provincial lakes, water management, municipal drinking water, and wastewater, along with the potential hazards of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking has been banned in Vermont USA, Quebec Canada, and in France so there is a strong possibility if Albertans are against fracking that it may also be banned in Alberta but that remains to be seen.
The consultations with Albertans will begin on February 19 in Grande Prairie and end on March 21 in Canmore with Edmonton, Calgary, as well as in smaller communities like Fort Chipewyan and Thorsby.
Protect our land our water our rights
Protect our land our water our rights
McQueen stressed, “Water is our most important resource, all of us use water in our daily lives, and so this is probably one of the most important conversations.” McQueen wants all Albertans included in this decision making process for future generations. “You’ll see that we’ll be making decisions together with Albertans as we move forward; the intent is not for this to be another document that will sit on a shelf.” The results of the consultations will also be made public but it is not certain when they will be released.
The riveting article in The Tyee entitled How Alberta Will Fight Fracking Folk Hero Jessica Ernst, details how hydraulic fracking contaminated Ernst’s groundwater and why she fought back. Ernst is a 55 year-old scientist and oil patch consultant who is suing the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), the Alberta Environment, and Encana for contaminating her well water with toxic chemicals about ten years ago.
In another article Tell Us What’s Being Done to Our Groundwater, Demand Albertans, the necessity for transparency on aquifer quality after Alberta closed the public records is heating up. If transparency is allowed, it could very well expose the harmful toxic effects of shale gas operations on Alberta and Canada’s aquifers that may lead to more protests, potential lawsuits, and a definitive ban on fracking if the public puts pressure on provincial and federal governments.
Contact the Government of Alberta for inquiries as to where these meetings will be held in Alberta from February 19th – March 21, 2013.
Additionally, the government will host targeted stakeholder meetings in communities where Water Planning and Advisory Councils already exist. See if your community is on the list here.
If you can’t make the meetings, feel free to participate in an online survey related to water conservation.
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