Sierra Club BC Headed to Court to Protect B.C.’s Water
Sierra Club BC is taking the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission to court for allowing oil and gas companies to withdraw vast quantities of fresh water from lakes, rivers and streams for fracking and drilling operations, in violation of the Water Act.
The lawsuit, brought by Ecojustice on behalf of Sierra Club BC and Wilderness Committee, seeks a Supreme Court order declaring that the Commission’s practice of repeatedly granting short-term water withdrawal approvals to oil and gas companies is unlawful. Encana Corporation, one of B.C.’s major natural gas players, is also named in the suit.
Read our press release.
“The B.C. government’s liquefied natural gas agenda comes with a huge cost, and the cost is B.C.’s water,” said Sierra Club BC campaigner Caitlyn Vernon. “The proposed new LNG industry would require a huge increase in drilling and fracking, sucking northern lakes and rivers dry and contaminating watersheds — just as we’re seeing increased droughts due to climate change.”
Legal action is needed to ensure that the oil and gas industry does not continue to use B.C.'s fresh water as if it were a limitless resource.
Northern communities are seeing their water depleted and contaminated by fracking.
Local residents are concerned about the added pressure on their river, which has been suffering from low flows in recent years.
Given the pressure of climate change on water resources, we must be even more careful about water use and contamination.
We need to ensure that B.C.’s water is protected for people, farms, fish and forests, not offered on a platter to oil and gas companies.
What is Fracking?
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, involves injecting large quantities of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure down wellbores. Many of the chemicals commonly used, such as benzene, are carcinogenic. The pressurized mixture causes the rock layer to fracture and release the natural gas trapped in the formation.
Much of the water used during fracking returns to surface heavily contaminated with a range of toxins. Fracking fluids can escape through rock fractures, whether natural or created through the fracking process itself, contaminating groundwater. Methane, a potent global warming gas, leaks at the wellbore or through rock fractures, increasing global warming emissions.