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Independant MLAs to visit Peace Region for educational purposes

The Peace Region will soon be visited by two provincial independent MLAs. Taking place from March 19-23, two independent MLAs, Bob Simpson, representing Cariboo North and Vicki Huntington of the Delta South, will be taking a break from the legislature to explore a variety of issues surrounding unconventional natural gas development within B.C.’s Peace Region.

Both are hoping the visit to the Montney Shale region, along with meetings with stakeholders, will provide them with an opportunity to gain some first hand knowledge about the natural gas extraction process within the province.

MLA Bob Simpson talks about some of the information he expects to gain from this trip.

“Last spring, Vicki Huntington and I joined together to ask Premier Clarke to convene a Special Committee of the Legislature to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into fracking. As there has been no indication Premier Clark has considered our request, our itinerary aims to achieve an impartial understanding of the industry and its effects, and provide a platform to share our findings with British Columbians.”

Local MLA Pat Pimm, representing the Peace River North, will host the two independent MLAs on a portion of their trip, and will also be joining the two in meetings with the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, as well as on a tour of the CCS waste disposal facility.

The group with also be meeting with B.C. Hydro, for a discussion of the proposed Site C Dam.

According to MLA Huntington, Hydraulic fracking is another focal point the two independent MLAs plan on educating themselves about while visiting the Peace Region.

“Modern fracking technology comes with the potential for environmental harm, but also for economic development. We need a comprehensive and pre-emptive approach which assesses risk and cumulative impacts of fracking and ensures we have the right public policy and regulations in place to protect the environment and human health and safety.  

To gain further knowledge on the procedure, Huntington and Simpson will also be visiting the Williston Reservoir, where two pipelines have been approved to remove fresh water for fracking activities around Hudson’s Hope, an area that the MLAs will also be touring with local residents. The two will also be meeting with the Peace Environment & Safety Trustee Society.

MLA Simpson says he is hoping the trip will provide a deeper understanding regarding the processes involved, the economic benefits as well as the environmental and health implications associated with the extraction of the province’s shale gas resources.

He says that with the new information, he and Huntington can hopefully make recommendations to the government on areas where public policy require strengthening.