Carrot River Valley MLA Fred Bradshaw initiated a 75-minute Saskatchewan Legislature debate in last week, backing the province’s continued practice of using hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas extraction process. This, at a time when Newfoundland and Labrador have recently placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the province.Contacted after last week’s meeting of the legislative assembly, Ed Dancsok explained the ins and outs of Saskatchewan’s use of hydraulic fracturing. Dancsok is the assistant deputy minister with the ministry of economy, and serves as head of the petroleum and gas division, which develops policies around the oil and gas resources in the province, as well as regulate these industries.

“Every form of energy development always involves a certain level of risk, whether it’s uranium power, hydro power — there’s always some impact from energy,” he concluded. “I believe in the case of fracking we have minimized the risks by having proper regulations in place, so things can be properly managed in Saskatchewan.” Where there have been environmental impacts related to fracturing, there hasn’t been the same regulations that Saskatchewan adheres to, Dancsok said.

Although only about half of the 3,000 wells dug annually use the hydraulic fracturing method, Dancsok notes that other methods are similar. One includes the pounding of hydrochloric acid through rock to dissolve limestone, and another uses nitrogen in place of water. Hydraulic fracturing has been taking place in Saskatchewan since the early ’50s, although Dancsok notes that only in the past few years has it kicked off as a common method.
Despite the provincial government’s approval of hydraulic fracturing method, Prince Albert Council of Canadians member Rick Sawa said that Newfoundland and Labrador had the right idea by placing a moratorium on fracking.

“The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water,” he said. In addition to Newfoundland and Labrador, Sawa notes that New York, Vermont and three municipalities in Colorado currently do not allow fracking to take place. For more information, please follow the link below.

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