Could fracking damage the Peace River dams?

Photo by Joshua Doubek, Wikipedia Creative Commons

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A resource policy analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has shook loose another Site C related response from BC Hydro.

Ben Parfitt has had a lengthy career as a journalist, and author, and has done some extensive research, triggered by a concern over hydraulic fracturing in the Peace.

He has penned an article published this week, suggesting that a freedom of information request has revealed, BC Hydro officials have for years quietly feared gas industry fracking operations could damage Peace River dams.

However, Deputy CEO Chris O’Riley has quickly responded to his concerns, with a statement saying, that to BC Hydro’s knowledge there has never been any fracking activity within five kilometres of BC Hydro dams, and that the BC Oil and Gas Commission has put restrictions in place so no new tenures will be issued within five kilometres of the dams, including Site C.

To that Mr. Parfitt says this.

It should also be noted, these setbacks do not apply to existing tenures, but Hydro says, the Commission has agreed, to notify the Crown Corporation prior to any activity in any of the existing tenures so Hydro can plan its operations and maintenance accordingly.

To that Mr. Parfitt says this.

Documents released through a freedom of information request spearheaded by Ben Parfitt, a resource policy analyst with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, reveal BC Hydro officials raised concerns as far back as 2009 that earthquakes triggered by fracking could put its Peace River dams at risk.

However both Chris O’Riley, Hydro’s Deputy CEO, and Natural Gas Minister, and Deputy Premier, Rich Coleman, were quick to respond, arguing regulations and additional measures of precaution are already in place.

In addition, Mr. O Riley has stated that fracking itself cannot generate “large” magnitude earthquakes, but here’s part of Mr. Parfitt’s response to that.

Meantime, Mr. Parfitt, claims Hydro’s setbacks deal, with the BC Oil and Gas Commission, to keep fracking operations set distances from Hydro facilities, are little more than a gentleman’s agreement, and he’s calling for firm government regulations on frack-free zones.

In his detailed statement Mr. Coleman accused the CCPA of looking past the facts and relying on “What if tactics” in an attempt to leave readers with a misguided representation of BC’S oil and gas sector.

He says BC has a long history of safely producing power, while exploring for oil and gas resources, a safety record he claims speaks for itself, with the best and brightest watching over the industry, to keep that record secure.