ERNST: Talk About Fracking!

ERNST: Talk About Fracking!

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:18 pm

ERNST: Talk About Fracking!

Published in Wadena News on February 8, 2012

What's Fracking? In many places, the earth beneath our feet!

Almost overnight, many people in Alberta, throughout the United States, many places in BC and eastern Canada, have heard seismic testing, then had drill rigs operating in sight of their homes.

Speaking at St. Peter's College in Muenster on Saturday (January 28), Jessica Ernst showed photos of the fracking just outside her Rosebud Alberta window. That fracking continues.

Ernst has documented the aquifer pathway to her gas-contaminated water. Her water was good; then it caused skin burns, small explosions, nausea, fear. Now she has an hour drive (and truck and tank) to haul her water.

She explained all the ways "There's a Hole in Their Story", such as industry and government attempts to avoid her evidence (along with many citizens' claims of water contamination, animal losses, disruption, noise pollution, health risks and uncertainties).

Huge amounts of water and poisonous chemicals are used to explode underground shale deposits to release oil or natural gas. After hydraulic fracturing - fracking - people discover tapwater and aquifer contamination. Small earthquakes and serious air pollution occur in fracking areas.

Having worked as an Encana consultant, Jessica Ernst couldn't continue seeing cover-ups and denials from the inside, while neighbours asked: What is Encana (and Cenovus Energy) doing in our area? She resigned, September 2004. It turns out the company was experimenting in her area with drilling technology they hoped would penetrate and pass through an aquifer safely. It didn't. Now her drinking water can be ignited! Ms Ernst's flaming water isn't the only scary part.

The company had not bothered to tell people what they were trying to do, let alone ask for approval.

If you are the company team that put the plan into action (or then-CEO of Encana, Gwyn Morgan), it would be difficult to let go of your theory, to acknowledge proof of the harm you have done.

Denial is understandable but not acceptable.


Very few property owners have mineral rights, apparently. According to antiquated Mining Acts in most of North America, exploration/mining has all the rights; we have very few.

Realizing how great the hazards are (complicated by many unknowns), several countries, states, provinces, municipalities, are banning fracking outright. Some have imposed a moratorium until real risks are understood.

Observing the Precautionary Principle is the only safe and sensible approach. In places already harmed, the picture is grim. People wanting to sell land or homes are unable, because of noise, water, air contamination. Where damage hasn't happened yet, let's learn from others how to achieve a moratorium. Prevention is the only remedy.

Some claim we need shale gas to meet world energy needs (and 'solve' our climate crisis). But it is well known that profits/benefits go mainly to industry stakeholders, while local residents and the environment bear enormous costs - loss of drinking water, loss of enjoying one's property, deteriorating health, loss of livelihood.

We understand the need for fuel, and appreciate engineering skills of solving complex problems, eg. designing ways "to force the tight oil and gas to let go" by high-power injection of chemical fluids (some carcinogenic such as hexavalent chromium), using huge amounts of sand and billions of gallons of water per site. We understand some of the conflicts of people who feel forced (even prefer) to work in Oil & Gas industries.

What we don't understand is the full-speed-ahead, damn-the-consequences greed of the rampage we witness.

What would an honest, respectful, approach be?

There is no way your home, my home, our enjoyment and care of property, should be trumped by industry caring for little but shareholder dividends.

We and our Municipal Councils should be very cautious about any signs of hydraulic fracturing. Each area of our province and country should formalize an effective moratorium - at least until real risks and benefits can be determined.

Bill Curry/Elaine Hughes
Quill Plains Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Wynyard, SK[/b]
Last edited by Oscar on Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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CAMPBELL: 50 years of safe fracking in Saskatchewan

Postby Oscar » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:10 pm

CAMPBELL: 50 years of safe fracking in Saskatchewan

By Kent Campbell, The StarPhoenix February 10, 2012

[ Kent Campbell is Saskatchewan's deputy minister of Energy and Resources. ]

The use of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" by the oil and gas industry has received media attention in recent weeks, particularly in relation to its application to shale gas production in the United States.

These stories have focused on production from shallower American formations and suggested that fracking may pose environmental concerns. With this increased public awareness in mind, it is worth reviewing the state of fracking in Saskatchewan, its 50-year history of safe use, and the robust regulatory regime in place to ensure responsible and sustainable development.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of opening up geological formations to allow natural gas or oil to flow more freely under controlled conditions.
During this process a mixture of water, sand and, sometimes, small amounts of chemical additives are pumped under high pressure into a geological formation to create fractures. These are kept open by the sand, allowing natural gas or oil to flow.

Concerns over the environmental impact of fracking in the U.S. and other areas to recover shale gas are largely focused on the issues of water use and management. In Saskatchewan, fracking occurs at a minimum of hundreds of metres below the water table and, in some cases, thousands of metres beneath layers of solid rock. Near the surface, the wellbore through which fracking fluids flow is protected by multiple layers of steel and cement to protect groundwater supplies.

Currently, Saskatchewan has no unconventional gas production, such as the shale gas production in the U.S. Multi-stage fracking is used in our province only on horizontal wells to produce oil from a number of important formations, including the Bakken, Shaunavon and Viking.

While use of this technology has increased, it has been applied safely in Saskatchewan for more than 50 years on roughly 33,500 oil and gas wells. It is the combined technologies of horizontal drilling and fracking that have unlocked the energy riches of the renowned Bakken in southeast Saskatchewan - a formation that otherwise would have gone largely undeveloped.

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