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Hydraulic fracturing has been safely used in Canada for more than 60 years

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

On July 4, Cumberland News Now published an opinion article by Geoff De Gannes. The article, “Shale gas not an option for growing Cumberland County’s economy,” includes misleading statements about hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing has been safely used in Canada for more than 60 years, and the industry has implemented technological advances throughout that time to make the process even safer and to continually improve environmental performance.

In hydraulic fracturing, groundwater and surface water are protected from the wellbore by layers of cement and casing. In addition, fracturing zones are thousands of metres below the surface, while aquifers that supply potable water are much shallower. There is no communication of fracturing fluids up the wellbore and into groundwater zones. On average, 98.5 per cent of fracturing fluid is water and sand, with additives comprising 1.5 per cent. The majority of these additives are commonly used in household products.

Multiple greenhouse gas (GHG) emission lifecycle assessments, that account for emissions from production and distribution through to use of the product, have found emissions from shale gas and conventional gas to be significantly lower than that of coal. The studies also found that there is little difference between the lifecycle GHG emissions from hydraulic fracturing and conventional gas production.

Sourcing Canadian natural gas is the best way to ensure the highest safety and environmental standards. As Natural Resources Canada reports, natural gas imports from the U.S. into eastern Canada are on the rise due to growing supplies in the U.S. Northeast and short transportation distances from American natural gas basins. This threatens a transfer of wealth and jobs out of Canada to our number one competitor whose environmental regulations for energy development continue to be rolled back.

Canada’s natural gas industry is safe, environmentally and fiscally responsible, and provides widespread benefits across the country including employment, government revenues that support education, health care, infrastructure and social programs we all enjoy.

Supporting information for this letter can be found on our website at www.capp.ca.

Paul Barnes, director, Atlantic Canada and Arctic

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

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