Canadian Researchers Urge Caution on the Use of Fracking

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Canadian Researchers Urge Caution on the Use of FrackingA report from a panel of 14 international scientists backed by Environment Canada advocated for a slow and cautious approach to fracking due to lack of sufficient data concerning the effect of the practice on environment

According to the study’s co-author Rick Chalaturnyk, a professor of engineering at University of Alberta, “so little is known about the long-term impacts of extracting gas by fracturing rock beds with high-pressure fluids that regulators and scientists must immediately seek for ways to develop the resource cleanly and safely”.

“Perhaps cautionary is the right philosophy,” added Chalaturnyk, according to the Financial Post. “We really do stand a chance to put in place the regulatory framework to answer the questions around environmental impact.”

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The panel was assembled by the Council of Canadian Academies, which is a non-governmental body that seeks to bring together Canadian academics to research on public policy matters. The panel formed its conclusions based on peer journals. It acknowledged that the Canadian economy may benefit immensely from the resources.

“Canada’s shale gas resources dwarf the 60.4 trillion cubic feet of marketable gas reserves that the National Energy Board estimated remained in Canada at the end of 2010,” said the scientists in the report.

However, the report said there was widespread uncertainty about the risks that fracking could pose to human health and environment, such as groundwater pollution and exposure to potentially toxic though unknown chemicals.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a method of extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale rocks that involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into the rocks to release the trapped fossil fuels.

Fracking backers argue that the technique has helped increase the production of natural gas, which release less amount of carbon into the atmosphere compared to other fuels like coal. This helps check climate change. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com