Parliament Hill gets "fracked"

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Fracking on Parliament Hill‘Frack Corp’ fracked Parliament Hill this morning using a 14-foot fracking rig spilling fracking wastewater in the process. The Council of Canadians, the organization behind the action, said it was to highlight the grave risks associated with fracking such as well leaks and wastewater spills.

“We organized this action to drive home to Members of Parliament why Canadian and Indigenous communities are calling for a ban on fracking,” says Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “Affected communities have been sounding the alarm on fracking for years because of the potential for water contamination, increases in greenhouse gases and health risks but their concerns have been ignored.” 

The action was timed with the release of the Council of Canadian Academies’ review on shale gas, which was conducted at the request of the Minister of Environment and released late yesterday. The 260-page report, Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada, warns of the lack of information about many key issues, expresses concerns about water resources particularly groundwater and greenhouse gas emissions and points out that natural gas leaks from wells are a “long-recognized yet unresolved problem” which can potentially contaminate groundwater resources and increase greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Council of Canadian Academies’ report raises glaring gaps in our understanding of the impacts of fracking. Relevant information has yet to obtained and isn’t publicly available. The report points out that we don’t know enough about where fracking chemicals and wastewater go underground. The report even says that the long term impacts of leaks is greater with shale gas development,” adds Lui. “The lack of regulations and information means governments are not in a position to declare that fracking is safe. We shouldn’t be going ahead with fracking projects with all these unknowns. We hope this report - commissioned by the federal government - finally prompts action from the federal government to place a ban on fracking.”

The Council of Canadians also delivered 16,000 petition signatures calling on Members of Parliament to place a ban on fracking. The petition highlights Canada’s international obligation to protect the human right to water and sanitation. The petition warns, “Fracking is one of the biggest threats to water of our time.” It urges Members of Parliament to ban future fracking in order to protect communities’ drinking water. 

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