British Columbians expect elected officials to act in the public's interest and to gather all the facts before making any decision. Decisions should be well informed, thoughtful and balanced. Burnaby city council's call for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, however, appears to be a knee-jerk decision in response to a request by a group opposed to the development of the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon.
Natural gas development in northeastern B.C. is strictly regulated, including the use of water. In addition, companies follow industry-best operating practices that have led to an exemplary safety record: about 7,500 natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured in the province without an incident of harm to drinking water, according to the provincial industry regulator. B.C. was also the first Canadian province to make mandatory the disclosure of the additives used in hydraulic fracturing via the online registry fracfocus.ca. We supported this requirement.
Government regulations and industry-best practices strive to keep people and communities near well sites safe, and to ensure natural gas is developed responsibly and safely. This is the case in B.C.
While no hydraulic fracturing takes place in Burnaby, the city and the province as a whole benefit from natural gas production in the northeastern part of the province. In the 2011/12 fiscal year, natural gas royalties and mineral rights payments were the province's single-largest source of natural resource revenue. The industry directly employs 12,000 people, and is expected to invest $4 billion this year, which includes the purchase of goods and services from companies across the province including the Lower Mainland and Burnaby.
Geoff Morrison, Manager, B.C. operations, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers