British Columbia

B.C. premier's home 'fracked' by protesters

B.C. Premier Christy Clark's home was 'fracked' Sunday, when anti-fracking activists set up a fake rig on the lawn to protest her support of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Fake fracking rig set up outside Christy Clark's house

Anti-fracking activists erected a fake rig outside B.C. Premier Christy Clark's house Sunday. (Vancouver Media Co-op Photo)

The home of B.C. Premier Christy Clark was 'fracked' on Sunday, when anti-fracking activists set up a fake rig on her lawn, to protest the premier's support of hydraulic fracturing for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Protesters with Rising Tide-Vancouver Coast Salish Territories argue exploiting northeastern B.C.'s shale gas resources is too dangerous for the environment and want Clark to reverse her LNG strategy.

Clark made LNG exports a central plank of her re-election campaign earlier this year and has just returned from a tour of North America and Asia to promote the export of B.C.'s natural gas.

Activist Jacquelyn Fraser said the group wanted to bring the reality of fracking right to the premier's doorstep.

"Because the premier loves fracking, we figured we would save her the hassle of trying to take over other peoples' homes and bring it right to her!" said Fraser.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "hydro-fracking," is a form of natural gas extraction in which a pressurized mix of water and other chemicals is injected into shale rock formations or coal beds to release trapped natural gas.

"We are just so worried about all the water that is being used and polluted in northeastern B.C. for fracking," said Fraser.

"We are sure Premier Clark is too and we're sure she can share some of her own supply so that she can see the boom in the industry she keeps promoting."

'Toxic chemicals'

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has just returned from a tour of North America and Asia to promote LNG exports
Each shale gas well uses between 55,000 and 200,000 litres of water mixed with chemicals. In B.C. alone, 7,300 wells have been fractured since 2005, and between 500 and a 1,000 new ones are being permitted each year.

But Maryam Adrangi, a climate and energy campaigner with the Council of Canadians, said northern communities should not be left with the environmental burden fracking could bring.

"In all seriousness, no one should have to face the impacts of fracking, which include having all of their freshwater being used by industry and for corporate profit, and then having unidentified, toxic chemicals put back into the water cycle," said Adrangi.

​The type of chemicals the industry uses in the fracking process are not widely known. The federal government has developed a partial list of 800, of which 33 are toxic and will finish a review of fracking in 2014.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Liberals claim future liquefied natural gas sales will help pay off the province’s debt and Clark says they are dedicated to promoting the export of liquefied natural gas internationally.

She has pledged to develop the world's cleanest LNG, and says the industry will represent a trillion-dollar economic opportunity and create 100,000 jobs for British Columbians.

Environmental concerns

  • The process of "fracking" uses large amounts of fresh water.

  • The waste water must be treated at facilities that critics say are not always equipped to remove the contaminants.

  • The chemicals used during fracking can contaminate groundwater.

  • Some people living near fracking wells have complained of noxious fumes they say cause headaches and other symptoms.

  • Researchers say fracking causes enough emissions to give it a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional gas or oil.