Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall. (Hansard TV)

Independent panel to review hydraulic fracturing impact in B.C.

Experts will study effects on earthquakes, water and climate change

The B.C. NDP government is proceeding with its promised technical review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, as one of the larger players in the global gas market considers going ahead with an export facility in the Kitimat area.

Three geological experts will look at the connections between what is commonly called “fracking” and earthquakes and how the process affects water quality and supply. They will also examine to what extent wells that use the process leak methane, the main component of natural gas, to the atmosphere, where it is a significant greenhouse gas.

“We’re going to be looking at how we extract natural gas here in B.C., making sure that our regulations are strong and that we’re doing things a safe way” said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.

The review, an NDP campaign promise in the 2017 election, comes as LNG Canada considers a final investment decision on a liquefied natural gas export terminal at Kitimat. LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz told an investment forum in Vancouver this week that his Shell-led investor group is preparing to begin construction as early as this year.

LNG Canada is a consortium including Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas and Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan. It is considered a leading proponent to export LNG from northeastern B.C. since the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG dropped its bid for a similar export terminal near Prince Rupert last year.

RELATED: Petronas drops LNG project for northern B.C.

LNG Canada has an agreement with TransCanada Corp. to build a pipeline through the Rocky Mountains from northeastern B.C., where Shell and others have major gas drilling operations in the Montney shale near Dawson Creek and other gas-rich formations.

A three-member panel will be made up of SFU hydrology professor Diana M. Allen, UBC rock mechanics and rock engineering professor Erik Eberhardt, and geological engineer Amanda Bustin. They will consult with academics, industry associations, northeast B.C. communities, Treaty 8 First Nations and environmental groups.

Results of the review are expected by the end of the year.

Just Posted

School district considers new position, drug concerns raised

Assistant superintendent confirms spike in use of a Xanax-like drug in schools earlier this year

Nanaimo’s elementary schools graded by Fraser Institute

Annual Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools released Saturday, April 21

UPDATED: Nanaimo man dies after highway crash in Nanoose Bay Friday afternoon

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road.

School district changes mind, won’t cut community school coordinators

Budget initiatives proposed for next school year

City of Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions rejected at local government conference

City council had contingent at Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

MULTIMEDIA: Goats were special guests at Nanaimo Earth Day celebration

Community event was held Saturday, April 21, at John Barsby Secondary School

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Nanaimo region receives $700,000 in federal support for summer jobs

Funding for Nanaimo-Ladysmith up $74,000 from last year

Students celebrate new indigenous garden

Garden teaches students about traditional uses of local plants

RCMP investigate sexual assault in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating a reported sexual assault April 11

RCMP discover beaver the culprit in break-and-enter attempt

Nanaimo RCMP responded to a 911 call on Sun Valley Drive on Wednesday night

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read