A black, 15-foot fracking rig built out of PVC piping adorned the front steps of the B.C. legislature Wednesday as a backdrop to a petition drop calling for a province-wide ban on fracking.
The Wilderness Committee delivered more than 16,000 signatures in brown boxes to Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau at the provincial legislature “with hopes to preempt the 9,000 new frack wells needed for two liquified natural gas (LNG) projects on the coast.”
A $40-billion LNG project, announced in October, will carry natural gas through a pipeline from the Peace region to Kitimat before being shipped overseas. It marks the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history.
“Communities here in B.C. and across the world are already reeling from the impacts of climate change,” said climate campaigner Peter McCartney, who passed the signatures over to Furstenau. “But fracking continues to poison vast amounts of precious water and accelerate the climate crisis even as renewable energy gets cheaper every day.”
Furstenau said she will present the petition after question period in the legislature Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s time for us to reorient towards a cleaner, greener energy in B.C.,” said Furstenau. “In the face of the mounting consequences of climate change, the last thing we need to do is add more incentive and provide more public funding to an industry that is contributing to climate change, which we then pay for at another level of government to address those impacts.”
After the LNG announcement in October, Kevin Hanna, director at the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research at the University of British Columbia, told Black Press Media that if natural gas replaces coal and keeps new factories from opening in China, there is a net benefit.
“If we see it as a transitional fuel, it could put B.C. in a really good position to provide that product to market as they bring other products online,” Hanna said.
The Wilderness Committee and 16,000 British Columbians brought their voices forward to the legislature Wednesday to express concern about the potential impacts of the industry locally – to the water supply and environment.
“We’re putting these LNG producers on notice,” said McCartney. “Mark my words — it is only a matter of time until we see a ban on fracking in British Columbia, and time is short.”
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