When will the BC NDP stop expanding fossil fuels and ban fracking?

Mar 30, 2023 | 42-4, Blog, Governance, Legislature, Question Period, Video

The Montney Play in northeast BC is Canada’s largest potential source of greenhouse gas emissions and the sixth largest in the world. By approving new LNG projects in this area, the BC NDP has locked BC into the fossil fuel economy for decades.

While industry propaganda promotes LNG as clean energy, we can’t escape reality. Fracking for LNG production emits large amounts of methane – a greenhouse gas which is toxic, explosive and 85x more potent than carbon dioxide.

While the government has said it will work with industry to reduce methane emissions from LNG, these fugitive emissions are notoriously hard to detect and eliminate. It is clear that the best way to deal with emissions is to not create them in the first place.

Fracking for LNG is also water intensive — it causes earthquakes, poisons groundwater and is linked to rare cancers and other serious health problems. This harmful industry didn’t exist in our province until the BC NDP created and subsidized it.

Today I asked when the gov’t will stop expanding fossil fuels & end fracking in BC. In his response, Minister George Heyman showed his chops to be an industry lobbyist, claiming LNG is “clean”, while citing vague plans & praising the climate targets we’re on track to miss.

A new poll shows that British Columbians overwhelmingly prefer renewable energy over LNG. This government has a choice – think long term and pivot towards clean energy opportunities, or further lock BC into the fossil fuel economy.


A. Olsen:
The Montney play in northeastern British Columbia is the largest potential greenhouse gas emission source in Canada and the sixth-largest in the world. While the government rhetoric promotes LNG as clean, we can’t escape reality. Exploiting these fossil fuels is contributing to catastrophic climate change.

By approving new LNG projects, the B.C. NDP is locking our province into a fossil fuel economy for decades. The impacts of these choices will be far-reaching, including the upstream emissions increased by fracking. Fracking emits large amounts of methane, which is 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Fracking is water-intensive, causes earthquakes, poisons groundwater and is linked to rare cancers and serious health problems.

My question is to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. How many more fracked gas wells are needed to feed the climate monster created by this B.C. NDP’s LNG economy?

Hon. G. Heyman:
As I’ve explained previously in this House, as well as publicly, we released a little more than two weeks ago our new energy action framework. The purpose of the framework is to create a context in which British Columbians can be assured that we will be on track to meet our legislated emission reduction targets as part of our CleanBC plan and to meet our oil and gas sectoral target by working with industry and Indigenous nations to put in place a regulatory cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector.

There are a variety of means that will be used to meet that cap. There are other factors in play with respect to the Montney, the recent agreement with the Blueberry River First Nation to limit disturbance, all of which is going to lead to concentrated work by industry, by government, by First Nations to ensure that we are on track to meet our targets while we also focus on building a strong economy that will include clean energy opportunities in different places in British Columbia that will benefit Indigenous nations, that will benefit our workers, including our building trades guests here today, and that will position British Columbia very, very well for the clean energy economy that we are all transitioning to around the globe.

Mr. Speaker:
Third Party House Leader, supplemental.

A. Olsen:
The minister knows that the energy action framework doesn’t do anything for the increased threat of earthquakes, the increased poisoned groundwater, the increased poisonous and toxic tailings ponds, and so that is really the future the northeast in our province.

Remember last fall when the Premier said that new fossil fuel infrastructure is not compatible with meeting our climate targets? For decades, this B.C. NDP government has promised to be one thing, and then they’ve shown British Columbians that they are another. On one hand, approving more LNG and more fracking, and on the other hand, creating a framework to reduce emissions that we just heard about from the minister.

There was no LNG industry in this province until this B.C. NDP government created and subsidized it, and the best way to deal with emissions, as we all know, is to not create them in the first place. A new poll shows that British Columbians overwhelmingly prefer government to focus on developing renewable energy over LNG. Instead, the B.C. NDP has chosen more methane emissions, more fracked gas wells, more polluted water, more poisonous tailings ponds, more pipelines, more RCMP rates.

My question is to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. When will fracking end in this province?

Hon. G. Heyman:
I think what the member opposite is trying to do is take his focus, a justifiable focus, on meeting our climate targets and reducing emissions and make it a completely binary choice, like there’s a light switch we can flick today and move to a new energy reality.

It is a transition. We are engaging in that transition. We are doing it through a number of mechanisms that included the announcements from a little over two weeks ago. The new energy action framework is a way to meet both our climate commitments and build a healthy clean energy economy that is growing around the world and that we want to be on the leading edge of.

Let me simply close by quoting the professor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, Andrew Weaver: “B.C. is leading the way with a new enhanced energy framework, a bold plan that will drive down emissions and build new opportunities in the clean economy sector. This framework will accelerate the province’s climate commitments while also supporting new opportunities in clean energy and technology, setting up the success of future generations, who will benefit off today’s investments in clean energy projects in B.C.”


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