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

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire along Millstone

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Swain will move over to mayor’s chair in Lantzville

Mark Swain and councillors Jamie Wilson, Karen Proctor, Ian Savage and Will Geselbracht elected

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

ELECTION DAY: Krog voted in as Nanaimo’s next mayor

Hemmens, Armstrong, Geselbracht, Brown, Turley, Bonner, Thorpe and Maartman elected as councillors

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

Most Read