In his report tabled this morning, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development revealed Environment Canada and Health Canada do not have a complete list of substances used in hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as fracking).
The report states that “The Minister of the Environment has discretion regarding industry reporting requirements. Environment Canada told us that oil and gas exploration and drilling activities are exempt from reporting to the National Pollutant Release Inventory.”
“This report proves right all these citizens who opposed shale gas fracking. I can understand why the industry wants to hide that list. But that the government allows them to do so is sickening,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.
“Environment Minister Peter Kent should have asked for the list a long time ago. Entire communities are threatened by the shale gas industry. Since the 1950s, over 200,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured in western Canada alone. As the Commissioner estimates, fracking activity is set to double in the next 20 years. It’s high time Canadians know what these companies are pumping in our environment,”concluded May.
While the regulation of the oil and gas sector for the most part falls under provincial jurisdiction, regulating toxic substances is a federal matter. Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Health Canada and Environment Canada share the mandate for assessing whether substances used in Canada are toxic to human health or the environment.