Federal Government must regulate shale gas drilling

– A major report on shale gas drilling released today clearly shows the Federal Government has been asleep at the switch on regulating risky oil and gas projects said New Democrat Natural Resources and Energy Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley).

“Some oil and gas companies are running around Canada dreaming up newer and riskier schemes to get at oil and gas resources,” said Cullen, “and this government is doing nothing to ensure that the process is safe.”

A report by researcher Ben Parfitt presented today at a conference on shale gas at the University of Toronto points out that neither the National Energy Board nor Environment Canada have adequately considered the implications of shale gas drilling including impacts on water quantity and quality.

“We’ve been raising these issues consistently trying to get the Government to pay attention to the risks of these kinds of unconventional oil and gas,” said Cullen, noting an NDP motion calling for a review of federal policies and regulations on oil sands, offshore drilling and shale gas was passed unanimously by the House of Commons.

“The Government voted in favour of our call for a thorough study of risky oil and gas but then within 24 hrs it seems they had amnesia and went back to recklessly greenlighting big oil and gas projects with no regard for the environmental and health consequences.”

The House of Commons Natural Resources Committee has agreed to a study proposed by Cullen to look at the federal government’s role in regulating unconventional oil and gas development including shale gas.

“The Government is doing its best to bury its head and ignore this issue in the House, but that won’t prevent the committee from looking at the serious health and environmental issues raised by shale gas, said Cullen.

“We need to take a serious look at the risks and make sure we have the laws and regulations needed to responsibly develop our energy resources.”