Research group calls for public inquiry into fracking practices in B.C.

File photo: Workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation outside Rifle, in western Colorado.
File photo: Workers tend to a well head during a hydraulic fracturing operation outside Rifle, in western Colorado. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) is pushing for a public inquiry into fracking operations in B.C.

The call for a formal inquiry comes after a 2013 report emerged showing that the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission estimated there may have been 900 instances of leaks, known as gas migration.

READ MORE: FOI docs reveal BC Hydro concerns over fracking

The report says there was “no evidence to suggest any of the current wells with gas migration pose a risk to domestic water wells,” but Ben Parfitt with the CCPA says otherwise, adding that the commission had the report for four years without making it public.

“One of the more disturbing findings associated with this report is that this only applied to a portion of the area in which oil and gas companies operate,” Parfitt said.

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WATCH: Fracking controversy

“In fact, the area that is most intensively drilled and fracked in the province right now is more to the south,” adding that the study didn’t even look at that particular area.

He said that’s why the CCPA is looking for answers.

“The government needs to hold a formal public inquiry that looks at all aspects of natural gas drilling and fracking operations in the province,” said Parfitt.

READ MORE: B.C. environmental groups file fracking suit

However, the resource sector says an inquiry is unnecessary.

“We’re in a time that almost all of the gas that consumers use in their homes is what you might term ‘fracked gas,’” said Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works.

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He said the NDP made a campaign promise to put together a review panel for fracking.

READ MORE: BC NDP’s John Horgan charts a new green path

“I think the distinction here is that we are hearing a call for that to be not a review – where you have scientists come in and look at the information and pass judgement on it – but rather a public inquiry, the sense that something is being put on trial,” said Muir.

The panel will deal with the genuine concerns people have, said Muir.

The newsroom has reached out to the Oil and Gas Commission for comment.