The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
ORDERS OF THE DAY — Continued
No. 26 — Thursday, November 3, 2011 — 1.30 p.m.
1 Ms. Huntington to ask the Hon. Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing the following questions:—
Unconventional Gas – Impacts on Public Health and Safety
1. Can hydraulic fracturing of gas-bearing shale formations result in groundwater and surface water contamination – waters that may also be drinking water sources? What can be done to reduce such outcomes?
2. In jurisdictions that use multi-well hydraulic fracturing techniques is there evidence of uncontrolled gas leaks? What are the consequences and can the risk of such outcomes be reduced?
3. At what proximity to human settlement may hydraulically fractured gas wells pose an unnecessary risk?
4. What risks are there when contaminants move between hydraulically fractured gas wells in events known as “communications” or “kicks”? At what point may gas wells exceed densities that place human health and public safety at unnecessary risk?
5. Do the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations pose a public health and safety risk? Should they be publicly disclosed?
6. What are the health impacts associated with chronic exposures to low levels of sweet gas and sour gas? What must the province do to eliminate fugitive emissions and reduced flaring to an absolute minimum?
7. What plans does the Oil and Gas Commission have to work with public health officials and the local communities to ensure that industry developments are located and staged in a manner that poses the least risk to human populations?
8. What plans are there to project forward the number of unconventional gas wells that may be drilled in the province and to ensure that the cumulative development of wells does not endanger the health and safety of the general public and First Nations communities or the environment?
Unconventional Gas – Impacts on Water and Land
9. How many unconventional gas wells are projected in British Columbia?
10. What will the associated water demand be?
11. What water conservation policies are presently in place?
12. What regulations and market measures, such as water pricing, might be sound public policy choices to maximize water conservation by the industry?
13. What role does the Oil and Gas Commission play in assigning water rights to the gas industry? What role do provincial water stewardship officials with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations play in assigning such rights? How do both agencies cooperate to ensure that: all water assignments are known, the actual water used by the industry is tracked, all wastewater produced by the industry is accounted for and its disposal methods and disposal sites are approved?
14. What cumulative impact assessments are there to ensure that industry water use is sustainable and poses no threat to watersheds? (Areas in northeast B.C. have already been identified by the provincial Forest Practices Board as being heavily impacted by a combination of oil and gas industry, forestry and cattle-grazing activities.)
15. Will the Water Act Modernization process ensure sustainable water use in the shale gas industry?
16. Under what circumstances may industry water applications be subject to an environmental assessment process? Should water applications exceeding a certain threshold be subject to such assessments?
17. Can unconventional gas developments be staged to reduce environmental impacts on lands and waters?
2 Mr. B. Simpson to ask the Hon. Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Housing the following questions:
1. When the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing, processing and later combusting unconventional gas are considered, how “green” is this energy source compared to other fossil fuels?
2. In the face of historic low prices for natural gas, should B.C. be accelerating the extraction of this resource through provincial subsidies to the industry?
3. If unconventional gas extraction continues in British Columbia should:
• a fair market price be placed on water utilized for this purpose?
• the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing be more regulated and publicly reported?
• the structure of the energy industry regulator – the Oil and Gas Commission – be changed to better address and monitor the industry’s cumulative impacts on public health and safety, water and land resources, and climate?
• the regulations governing the sector be more prescriptive to ensure public health and the environment are protected?
4. Are government, the OGC, and industry meeting their legal requirements to consult with First Nations and the spirit and intent of the New Relationship with respect to joint decision-making and revenue sharing?
Unconventional Gas – Impacts on Climate and Energy Security
5. What are the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the extraction and processing of unconventional gas?
6. What may be the additional greenhouse gas emissions associated with more advanced treatment or conversion of natural gas to products such as liquid fuels (diesel, naphtha and propane) or liquid natural gas?
7. Can British Columbia meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets when anticipated unconventional gas development is fully accounted for? If this is not achievable at present, what changes to the way development occurs, and the scale of development, would have to happen to enable B.C. to meet its targets? What public policy approaches could B.C. employ to allow those changes to happen?
8. From a domestic energy security perspective, how much natural gas should B.C. be exporting and over what time period?
9. What revenue streams should British Columbians and First Nations reasonably expect to see from increased unconventional gas production in the province?
3 Mr. Coons to ask the Hon. Minister of Environment the following questions:—
1. In 2006, the Minister of Environment committed to ensuring that the territory around the Queen of the North wreck would return to its pristine condition by promising long-term environmental monitoring of the upwelling around the wreck and the testing of harvestable shellfish and seaweed. Why has this government not fulfilled that promise? What are the government’s plans to fulfil this promise?
2. Ever since the sinking of the Queen of the North, just minutes away from Hartley Bay, there have been concerns with the upwelling of fuel, asbestos, lead, mercury and other toxins in Gitga’at territory. What is the government doing to address local concerns about safe harvestable foods?
3. BC Ferries promised to help restore the territory around the Queen of the North wreck and was paying a yearly contribution to assist with monitoring and testing of marine life in the area surrounding the Queen of the North wreckage site until it chose to no longer honour that agreement in March 2011. What does the Minister know about BC Ferries’ decision to not honour that agreement? What does the government plan to do to ensure that BC Ferries does not renege on their financial and moral obligations?
4. Since BC Ferries and the government decided not to honour their promise to monitor the area around the Queen of the North wreckage site and return the area to its pristine condition, the Gitga’at Nation have undertaken the cost of monitoring the waters around the Queen of the North wreckage site. What is the government’s plan to compensate the Gitga’at Nation for these costs?
5. Has the government done any assessment or monitoring of the environmental impact of the Queen of the North wreckage site in the last year? If so, what were the results of that assessment?
6. What is the status of the government’s clean-up of the area around the Queen of the North wreckage site?
7. What is the government’s plan to manage any upwelling of diesel around the Queen of the North wreckage site and the impact it will have on the Gitga’at Nation’s harvesting grounds?
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