Government has outlined actions that are underway and complete as part of its ongoing work to address recommendations in the independent scientific panel’s Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report.
After releasing the report in March, the Province established a cross-government working group to develop short-term and long-term action plans for implementing the panel’s 97 recommendations. This working group includes staff from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the BC Oil and Gas Commission, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Since March 2019, government has implemented a number of changes that address the panel’s recommendations, including:
- installing new hydrometric monitoring stations in collaboration with First Nations communities;
- installing new groundwater observation wells near Fort Nelson;
- completing mapping of more than 55 aquifers;
- implementing an outreach and education initiative for land and dam owners in the northeast region; and
- mapping zones that are likely to experience greater ground motion from seismic events is underway.
As part of the short-term action plan, the working group will review and clarify regulatory processes and procedures, and identify areas for improvements in data-management tools, systems, integration and public accessibility. The working group will also recommend long-term research directions and priorities for government that address knowledge gaps identified by the scientific panel.
Over the coming months, the working group will engage with British Columbians, including First Nations, industry, academics, research institutions and environmental non-profit organizations to develop a strategic research partnership.
In December 2019, the working group will provide the minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources with a status update and a detailed long-term plan that identifies actions government will take to effectively and fully address the independent panel’s recommendations.
The three-member independent scientific panel submitted its final report to Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, on Feb. 20, 2019. The review found the regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing in British Columbia to be robust, also identifying areas for improvement.
The scientific panel’s report is available here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/natural-gas-oil/responsible-oil-gas-development/scientific_hydraulic_fracturing_review_panel_final_report.pdf