Public briefing on recent northeastern oil and gas activity human health assessment

Koope went though the assessment’s key findings and recommendations, the purpose of which he explains is to provide guidance for the province as they move forward, rather than telling the province exactly how they should move forward.

“We can’t tell the province what to do,” explains Koope. “We can certainly make recommendations and that’s what they are; they’re essentially suggestions as to what they can do in order to reduce some of the health risks that are there right now.”

As reported earlier, the assessment found human health risks in the northeast to be relatively low.

“We’re giving recommendations to them to ensure they continue to be low,” Koope goes on to say. “I think some of that is going to be consensus-based because it’s going to take more than the Ministry of Health, more than industry. It’s going to involve other ministries; it’s going to involve agencies like Northern Health, and at times they’re going to be competing priorities, and they’re going to have to find that common ground.”

He says presenting the assessment with more charged words wouldn’t allow for such flexibility.

Rick Koechl is a resident of Old Hope Road and has been for the past 27 years. He finds recommendation number two, considering the implementation of a reciprocal agreement framework for setback between the oil and gas industry and B.C. communities, as a point of contention.

“You could have four or five oil companies beneath your feet – literally – vying for different deposits,” says Koechl.

So how does that challenge things?” Koeckl asks. “I don’t see an answer to that at all. What I do see is more complication because the crown isn’t going to want to give up its right – they earn money from those sales.”

Koechl does appreciate the recommendations surrounding water quality, saying he hopes the province will implement the requirement for industry to conduct a water quality analysis before and after projects to ensure if a change in quality does occur, it’s appropriately documented.

The next public hearing is being held April 8, 2015 at Northern Lights Dawson Creek campus – commencing at 6:30 p.m.


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