NDP PROPOSES STRONGER ACTIONS ON SUSTAINABILITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AS ‘FRACKING’ EXPANDS IN B.C.’S NATURAL GAS FIELDS
“The approval from the National Energy Board in October for an export licence is a major and positive step for the Kitimat LNG project, but with it comes the very serious responsibility to properly manage all resources,” said New Democrat energy critic John Horgan.
“The projected growth of fracking means we must strengthen public accountability and ensure that water resources and other environmental values are not ignored. It is time for the Liberals to act,” said Horgan.
New Democrat environment critic Rob Fleming stressed the importance of strong environmental protections and ensuring the oil and gas sector adheres to industry best practices.
“There are a number of important environmental considerations with the extraction of B.C.’s natural gas resources. The most immediate concern surrounds the many challenges associated with water use in fracking. The actions we are proposing will make immediate improvements and allow for expert recommendations for longer term issues,” said Fleming, adding that the cumulative impacts of oil and gas operations must be examined as part of the review process.
Horgan and Fleming introduced the B.C. New Democrats’ proposals to ensure the industry moves forward in a sustainable way:
1) Appoint an expert panel to conduct a broad public review of fracking, including public hearings and consultations with First Nations, local communities, industry, environmental groups and citizens.
2) Make immediate changes to protect B.C.’s water resources, including consolidating authority for water licencing within one public body; improving water mapping, monitoring and public reporting; and ending the current practice of issuing free water permits through the Oil and Gas Commission.
3) Extend funding for the Farmers’ Advocate office to ensure landowners in the natural gas fields have the support they need to deal with the gas industry.
4) Examine the province’s Climate Action Plan in order to take into account proposed expansions in gas development, which will bring more upstream greenhouse gas emissions.
“Premier Christy Clark has hitched her so-called jobs plan to pushing forward with massive expansions of a number of resource extraction activities, but hasn’t begun to address the real concerns people have about the impact on their communities and the natural environment in B.C.,” said Fleming.
“If the Liberals want long-term, sustainable economic growth and real jobs for B.C. families, they must take responsible actions to satisfy a number of serious concerns including the effect of industrial expansion on greenhouse gas emissions, the interests of communities, industry and First Nations, and the long term costs to our province,” said Horgan.
Adrian Dix and B.C.’s New Democrats are committed to a plan that ensures long-term sustainability and environmental quality in B.C.’s expanding natural gas fields.