Tag Archives: Water Issues

Informed Digest: Northern Gateway, Fracking & Water, Carbon Fee & Dividend…

Keeping up & in the know…

Behind the Numbers: Will Enbridge’s Pipeline Ever Get Built?

“Opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline is BC’s largest social movement. A large majority of British Columbians are opposed to the pipeline. BC First Nations, who hold the ultimate trump card – the constitutionality of their rights and title, have said no means no. Thousands testified to the Joint Review Panel (and its arguably limited flawed process). Even friend of fossil fuels, Premier Christy Clark, maintains her five conditions for BC’s approval have not been met.

So the betting odds are that this pipeline will never get built. Even the federal decision came at the last minute, without ministerial fanfare, advertising campaign or the term “Harper government” on the media release. Moreover, by igniting a BC-based opposition, the 21 seats the Conservatives hold in BC could be the difference between a renewed majority or not in the 2015 election.

The Harper government’s relentless push to make Canada an energy superpower based on tripling production from the tar sands may now be its undoing.


In the opposition to Enbridge, Keystone and Kinder-Morgan, we are seeing a public response to a fossil fuel industry has gotten too large, its infrastructure causing too much damage. The costs of the carbon economy, local environmental damage due to spills and costs associated with climate change, were recently estimated at $1.2 trillion per year.

Climate change and changing attitudes about addressing it also suggest this pipeline may never happen. It’s been widely noted that two-thirds to four-fifths of the world’s proven reserves of fossil fuels need to stay in the ground, perhaps much more in Canada.”

-Marc Lee

Financial Post: Alberta’s Plan for Athabasca River ‘Pathetic,’ Critics Say

“The report points out industrial water demand on the Athabasca is expected to increase by nearly 500 per cent by 2020 and provides ways to regulate how much water could be removed at different times of the year. The river’s flow varies wildly: from 88 cubic metres per second in January to more than 3,500 in July.

Using 50 years of flow data, the report lays out varying withdrawal limits for five ‘seasons.’ At all times, total withdrawals would be a small fraction of the river’s flow and would nearly stop when the Athabasca was flowing at its lowest rate.

Companies would be encouraged to store water to use during low-flow periods.

The problem, say critics, is that there’s no research justifying those withdrawals. Fish habitat, bug populations, water quality, groundwater, connections to tributaries—none of those factors was considered.


Even a couple inches in water levels can be critical…”

-Bob Weber

David Suzuki Foundation: Trading Water for Fuel Is Fracking Crazy

“It would be difficult to live without oil and gas. But it would be impossible to live without water. Yet, in our mad rush to extract and sell every drop of gas and oil as quickly as possible, we’re trading precious water for fossil fuels.


Researchers determined, though, that Alberta fracking operations have started using more ‘brackish/saline’ groundwater instead of freshwater. The report cautions that this practice needs more study ‘given the potential for brackish water to be used in the future for drinking water’ and the fact that withdrawing salty groundwater ‘can also adversely impact interconnected freshwater resources.'”

-David Suzuki & Ian Hanington

Citizens Climate Lobby Canada: Carbon Fee & Dividend

Pros of a carbon fee and dividend system, from Citizens' Climate Lobby Canada

Image via Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada

“Under this plan, 66% of Canadian households would break even or receive more in their dividend check than they would pay for the increased cost of energy, thereby protecting the poor and middle class.”

SumOfUs: What Yes Can Do