Petronas Subsidiary Built Unauthorized Dams For Fracking: Re

Petronas Subsidiary Built Unauthorized Dams For Fracking: Re

Postby Oscar » Thu May 04, 2017 10:17 am

Petronas Subsidiary Built Unauthorized Dams For Fracking: Report

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CCPA investigation finds fracking companies built dozens of dams, some five storeys high, without permits.

By Andrew Nikiforuk , | May 3, 2017

A subsidiary of the Malaysian oil giant and LNG proponent Petronas has been building unauthorized dams to trap water for mega-fracking that has triggered unprecedented seismic activity in northeastern British Columbia.

Progress Energy has built at least 16 unauthorized dams in the Montney basin, says a report by journalist Ben Parfitt for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. [ ] The structures are among “dozens” of unauthorized dams built by industry in the region, the report found.

Two of the earth dams constructed by Progress Energy are higher than a five-storey building, the report says.

Due to their size and water-holding capacity, the report says, these dams should have triggered an automatic review by the province’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) prior to construction. But Parfitt found there was no review before the dams were built.

Only now is the office investigating the unauthorized dams.

Progress Energy built the dams between 2012 and 2014 on Treaty 8 land north of Fort St John in order to store surface water to supply its extensive hydraulic fracturing operations in the Montney basin gas fields.

The controversial fracking technology injects a high-pressure mix of water, chemicals, gases and sand into the ground to fracture rock so it can release methane and natural gas and associated liquids.

Fracking has triggered more than a thousand earthquakes in the region since 2008 and changed seismic patterns so dramatically that experts are increasingly concerned about the safety of dams in the region. [ ... -Patterns/ ]

“Either the regulator knew these dams were being built and didn’t do anything or they didn’t know and didn’t do anything. In either case we are experiencing a meltdown in regulatory oversight,” Parfitt told The Tyee.

Progress Energy issued a statement saying the dams complied with BC Oil and Gas Commission requirements when built.

“Progress Energy had the required short-term use authorizations in place when the dams were constructed,” said David Sterna, director of external affairs and communications. The company is now working with regulators to ensure all its dams comply with the 2016 Water Sustainability Act, he said.

The company has indicated to the Environmental Assessment Office that it intends to apply for an exemption for the dams under Section 10 of the Environmental Assessment Act. The provision allows the EAO’s executive director to exempt projects from review.

According to the BC Oil and Gas Commission’s already dated 2016 report on water management [ ], “Progress Energy Canada Ltd. used the most water (3.3 million cubic metres) and completed the largest number of wells for hydraulic fracturing in 2015.”

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