Fracking threatens dams: BC Hydro

W.A.C. Bennett Dam

A weekly roundup of news and views on energy, mining, forestry and more

Earthquakes triggered by fracking are a potential danger to Peace River dams, according to internal emails of BC Hydro officials. Those dams at risk include the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, the Peace Canyon Dam and the $9-billion Site C dam, currently under construction. While BC Hydro has never discussed these concerns publicly, they were revealed in emails and letters obtained by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. According to a report released on Tuesday by the left-wing think tank, BC Hydro worked out an agreement as early as 2014 with the BC Oil and Gas Commission to create five-kilometre buffer zones around dams where no new fracking and drilling rights can be issued. (Vancouver Sun)

Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion is “not worth the risk,” Mayor Gregor Robertson told the National Energy Board panel in Vancouver on Tuesday. “The National Energy Board’s review of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline application was flawed and biased, and totally ignored the overwhelming evidence that a major oil spill from a 600 per cent increase in tanker traffic would be catastrophic for Vancouver’s environment and economy,” he said. “I’m confident that the Ministerial Panel will see that, on balance, there is no case for this pipeline and the federal government should turn down Kinder Morgan’s application.” Read the mayor’s open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau here.

The LNG market is about to heat up, as new supply from the U.S. and Australia strengthens buyers’ bargaining power. Historically, LNG has been sold on long-term contracts that guaranteed buyers supply and helped producers finance liquefaction plants at a time when less of the product was shipped. Now, a gas glut is causing LNG-importing countries to support renegotiating existing deals that can run 20 years or more. The shift to short-term contracts may account for half of global trading in the future, according to one analyst. (Bloomberg)

A mesmerizing pure blue flame that spins like a top could be a safe way to mop up oil spills in oceans, lakes and rivers. The “blue whirl” was accidentally discovered by a team of American scientists while they were simulating a fire tornado. The University of Maryland team is working on how to recreate the slow-burning, controlled flame for use in remediation efforts. (CBC)

Clean up your mess. A West Kootenay landowner, whose property was contaminated by a nearby mine and a landfill site, says he’s waited 20 years for an agreement to remediate his land. Martin Ross’s great-grandfather first settled the land, but over the years a mine leached toxins into the soil. The situation was compounded by a municipal dump located near the mine which also contaminated his property. He wants to farm the land but has been unable to reach an agreement with Teck Mining, which now owns the former lead and zinc mine, or the government agencies responsible. (CBC)