Fracking watch: Canada figures out what CA hasn’t

May 2, 2013

By Chris Reed

Hydraulic fracturing has been around for decades in our northern neighbor, just as it has been in the U.S. And what do you know? Canadian enviros only began complaining about fracking in recent years when its new IT-driven efficiency suddenly made it a threat to their push for a dreamy pure green energy future — just like with the enviros in the United States. Oh, what a strange coincidence.

Alas, the Legislature has taken initial steps to block fracking in California. On Monday, AB 1301 and two other anti-fracking bills passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Lawmakers simply don’t care that the Obama administration sees fracking as just another heavy industry.

canadaFracking sanity chapter No. 6: Canada

This indifference to reason is why starting last Saturday, every morning I’ve been blogging about the nations around the world that are embracing fracking. So far I’ve covered Germany, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil. Today it’s Canada’s turn.

My point: The fracking/brown energy revolution is coming, regardless of what greens in the newsrooms of the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee want, and that California can either join in the party or get left behind. This is from the Montreal Gazette:

“As Canadians expect a transition to a less carbon-intensive energy future, partnering becomes an essential piece of the renewable picture.

“Natural gas is the cleanest-burning hydrocarbons, making it an ideal partner to intermittent renewable options. It offers a reliable energy source during periods when intermittent renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are unable to provide adequate capacity, and it can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of ways, including transportation and electricity generation. …

“Canada is the world’s third-largest producer of natural gas, and natural gas provides almost one-third of the energy used by Canadians. …

“Natural gas trapped in unconventional formations is typically located two to three kilometres below the Earth’s surface and thousands of metres below drinking water aquifers. Drinking water aquifers are typically found less than 300 metres below the surface.

“Available technologies, including hydraulic fracturing, are continually adapted to safely and economically produce natural gas from these challenging geological formations. … Over the course of the past 60-years-plus, more than 175,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured in Canada, including in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick.  ‘About 85% of current oil and gas activity in British Columbia, and 70% in Alberta, involves hydraulic fracturing. It is a common practice in the industry,’ Mr. Heffernan says.”

Fracking is evil! Proof? Picky, picky, picky!

And what is the Canadian consensus? That it’s just another manageable heavy industry, not the devil — the same conclusion as the Obama administration.

“The Canadian natural gas industry is one of the most regulated in the world. In addition to regulations specific to individual provinces, all have laws to minimize impact, protect freshwater aquifers and ensure responsible development.”

But none of this seemingly matters to Democrats in the Legislature. Fracking is new (no), a huge threat to groundwater (no), a huge causer of dangerous earthquakes (no).

If only the media addressed and then debunked these claims with one-millionth the effort they do with factually challenged claims on most high-profile issues.

Fracking watch: Previous posts

No. 1: Germany

No. 2: China

No. 3: Russia

No. 4: Saudi Arabia

No. 5: Brazil



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