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BC Government Unveils Plan to Conduct a Hydraulic Fracturing Review

On March 15, 2018, Minister Michelle Mungall (Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources) unveiled the provincial government's plan to conduct an independent, scientific review of hydraulic fracturing. The review, headed by a three-person panel, will focus on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, including its relationship with seismic activity, impacts on water quality and quantity, and fugitive methane emissions.

The members of the panel were announced as: Diana M. Allen, P. Geo, a professor in the department of earth sciences at SFU; Erik Eberhardt, P. Eng, a professor of rock mechanics and rock engineering at UBC; and Amanda Bustin, PhD, a research associate at UBC. Nalaine Morin will advise the panel with respect to traditional Indigenous knowledge.

The panel will work toward a tight timeline to provide a report to the Minister by the end of 2018. The report will include a review of provincial regulations and recommendations. The panel's review will include scientific evidence from organizations and experts, as well as traditional Indigenous knowledge from First Nations. The panel will also turn to academics, industry associations, communities in northeastern British Columbia, Treaty 8 First Nations, and environmental organizations.

This will be the second report on hydraulic fracturing in three years: In 2015, the previous provincial government commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct an independent report on hydraulic fracturing. That report found British Columbia had a robust regulatory framework in place to oversee hydraulic fracturing.

The province has not yet released information on public and industry hearings or opportunities to contribute information to the review.

Provincial News Release and Panel Members' Biographies, available here.