VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) -Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been linked to a record number of earthquakes in BC, Alberta, and elsewhere.
The controversial extraction method is also the subject of the recent book, “Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry.”
Journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, who has been covering the oil and gas sector for two decades, devoted the book to the ongoing legal battle waged by Jessica Ernst to save her land from the damaging effects of fracking.
“Her lawsuit against Encana and the Alberta government has been slowly proceeding through the court, but it really won’t go anywhere until the Supreme Court [of Canada] decides whether or not the Alberta regulator should be part of that lawsuit.”
Nikiforuk says Ernst is a unique case.
“She’s never seen herself as an activist of any kind,” he points out.
“Fundamentally, she sees herself as a scientist, as a member of the industry, who is just simply trying to get the regulator and the government to uphold their own regulations and to account for the contamination of groundwater in her community.”
Fifteen per cent of sales from “Slick Water” will be donated to her legal defense fund.
Nikiforuk points out fracking has been linked to thousands of earthquakes.
“Fracking is earthquake-making activity,” he says.
“Everyone said the earthquakes would stay at a magnitude of 1.0 or 2.0, which are at a level you cannot feel, and now we’re up to levels of 4.6 in British Columbia and 4.8 in Alberta. I mean, that’s astounding.”
He predicts it will likely take a magnitude 5.0 or greater earthquake that damages homes and public infrastructure for any meaningful change to happen.
In the meantime, Nikiforuk says the oil and gas sector will keep on fracking as long as it can get away with it.
“Industry will carry it as far as they can because, to them, this is the only way they can still do business, is by using this very imprecise, unpredictable technology to crack open very low grade rocks deep in the ground.”
Nikiforuk will be appearing at the SFU Woodwards campus in Downtown Vancouver for an event this Thursday.