Columbia will provide information, over time, on the
private conventional and unconventional
gas exploration and producing industry which is changing the face of BC
through its growing, organized, and stronger lobbying powers.
There is a necessary imperative for a new public investigative focus and empowering corrective action on this evolving issue, and the new set of cumulative environmental and social problems it presents both here in BC, and internationally.
Natural Gas exploration and production activity in British Columbia has been active since the 1950s, beginning in the northeastern corner of the Province. That activity was a slower process until more recently.
In the late 1980s, following new controversial privatization initiatives under the Social Credit administration in 1987, the Crown corporation, BC Hydro, split or privatized its natural gas company subsidiary, now owned and operated by Terasen Gas, responsible for providing natural gas supplies and service throughout BC.
With the strategic 'energy' by the petroleum industry's, and its associated marketing public relations investor complex's, more recent concentrated efforts to locate home (North American) sources, combined with the advancement of new drilling technologies, there has been an explosion of natural gas drilling in the United States, now under significant attention by its public legislators on the industry's collective environmental impacts in numerous States. The rapid increase in drilling activities in the U.S. was largely facilitated and entrenched during the recent two four-year term George Bush Jr. Republican administration, whereby private industry reprentatives were even placed in charge of federal administrative portfolios. This pattern of deep corruption, stimulated in a new atmosphere of de-regulation, helped snuff out inter-administrative protection agency oversight and research, i.e., the EPA (" drill baby drill" ).
The central argument now promoted by the collective gas companies through their professional associations on the increase of exploration drilling is that natural gas, which apparently emits about one half the Green House Gas emissions in comparison to emissions from coal burning (global coal burning currently represents about one third of total global emissions), will eventually replace U.S. coal burning generation facilities, thereby reducing harmful global emissions by about one half. The logic of this rationale is entirely questionable, and its lack of ethics quite troubling.
On the other hand, the combustion of gas
still produces nitrogen
oxides, a cause of smog and acid rain. And while carbon emissions are
lower, natural gas itself is a powerful greenhouse gas. Natural gas
(methane) is much more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat
in the atmosphere, 58 times more effective on a pound-for-pound basis.
Methane concentrations have increased eight times faster than carbon
dioxide, doubling since the beginning of the industrial age. Natural
gas use has accounted for about 10 percent of all global warming
emissions. (Source: Union of
Here, there has been a veritable "gold rush" for natural gas taking place in British Columbia since the early 2000's. Many of the alligned and integrated corporate players in this escalating invasion are from the United States, including the large service industry players like Halliburton and Schlumberger. (A December 15, 2009 article in BusinessWeek, Natural Gas: New Environmental Rules Could Cloud Prospects, reported that "Halliburton, Schlumberger, and BJ Services" "control most of the $16 billion hydraulic fracturing market", presumably only the U.S. market.)
In 2009, Taqa North, a Saudia Arabian subsidiary of Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa, in Arabic, means "energy"), alone acquired over a billion dollars in collective land tenure deals, primarily in the Horn River Basin near Fort Nelson, a new hub of promotional investments.
New private deal mergers, such as Encana and the Korean company Korea Gas Corp. in Feburary 2010, are signalling a shift in BC's gas deposits to become a global warehouse for new international marketing sources - LNG (liquified natural gas) shipments via the sea port in Kitimat expected to become active some time in 2014. ("Korea Gas plans to spend $1.1 billion over the next five years to bring gas to the surface from a huge patch of land that is owned by EnCana Corp. of Calgary.")
The BC Liberals, who front this new wave of activity, have not only failed to provide British Columbians with opportunities to openly discuss and divulge the complex impacts of natural gas exploration and development, but also in determing the implications of wholesale export of these resources globally and discussing accompanying restrictions of the industry's activities.
Many of these companies, and their associated service entity partners, are dramatically changing and influencing BC's political structures and land ecosystems (Mordor Money), undergoing continuous strategic political alliances with the neighbour province of Alberta, with the harmonized self-interested goal to de-regulate and demote enviornmental legislation, regulation, and oversight. As a result, the public's rights and abilities to intercede on this issue are being overridden and controlled.
Amazingly, Oil and Gas Tenure Titles (tens of thousands of active titles) now encompass nearly ten percent (10%) of BC's entire land mass! In this sense, what becomes significantly troubling are the implications of a new inter-corporate demographic or sovereignty related to these quasi-land rights, something akin to land concentration ownership, special entitlement and associated political representation (including political campaign contributions). This is enforced evidently in BC's northeast with the way in which local and regional governments are being manipulated, the tactics against private landowners, as practiced in the United States, and pressures upon First Nations (Treaty 8). Perhaps the recent January 2010 proposal and public discussion about corporate voting rights may be a result of this mass inter-tenure concentration, and many other corportate style gifts since 2001, being bandied about under BC Liberal administration.
In this new web of political intrigue, fresh waters (above and below ground level), wildlife, the air, are under severe attack and compromise. What was only more recently seen as spiritual, "wild", and unpopulated vast landscapes, are quickly being converted and bridled to the monster pollution "Gas Grid" - seismic lines, new access roads, large production pads, diesel generators, traffic streams of large industrial trucks, Encana's recently approved air polluting Cabin Gas Plant near Fort Nelson (annual emissions at 2.17 million tonnes of GHG per year, a 3.27 increase to BC emissions since 2006, equal to emissions from 450,000 vehicles), etc. What is emerging may be correctly and aptly termed "Alberta West", BC's neighbour province of much ecological manipulation and destruction, happily and ambitiously promoted through big business think tanks such as the Fraser Institute.
Private landowners, which the BC government has somehow refused to provide any associated land protection legislation and rights, have been under increasing siege and pressure since about 2003 under the current BC Liberals administration (advocated through its two successive Energy Ministers, Neufeld and Lekstrom, both from Electoral Ridings in the Peace River energy sector). Unfortunately, many residents affected by this industry have only two obvious options: options: stay (make concessions, put up with it, or fight) or leave.