Calling for a Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracking

January 20,2012
Minister of Energy - Ted Morton
Minister of Health - Fred Horne
ERCB Chairman - Dan
McFadden
Minister of Human Services -
Dave Hancock
Alberta Surface Rights Group
Re: Hydraulic Fracking Moratorium
It is respectfully submitted that the Alberta Surface Rights Group request the Government of Alberta to place an immediate Moratorium on the practice of  high pressure, multi stage, hydraulic fracturing commonly known as "Hydro Fracking". The number of increasing incidents in well to well communication as a result of these high pressure fracking operations proves the expedient need to halt the practice, until further scientific research can be completed and knowledge can be gained. A better understanding of this process could prevent a serious event from unfolding.
Numerous individuals and organizations have, in the last five years, stressed that high pressure hydraulic fracking will cause cross communication between the formations being fracked and both the overlying and underlying zones. The potential to cause cross communication from the fracking zone to zones that contain active fresh water aquifers is one of the many concerns, Alberta Surface Rights Group has identified to both the Department of Environment and the ERCB. The continual denial by the ERCB that this will not happen is very much a concern as every professional geologist knows there are natural occurring fractures in every formation and the potential for a high pressure frack to propagate through this natural fracture system and  introduce contaminates of fracking fluid to a fresh water aquifer is inevitable. The high risk of hydrocarbons migrating behind the frack fluid is a high probability. These pollutants will render a fresh water aquifer completely contaminated and irreversible to remediation. Movement of fresh water as a result of recharge and discharge will result in the movement of the contaminants throughout the entire aquifer and the contamination will not be restricted to a localized area.
The overwhelming evidence that high pressure hydraulic fracturing has resulted in communication between a fracking operation and existing wells in Alberta provides further justification for an immediate Moratorium. The dramatic impact  of a migration of a fracking operation into an existing oil or gas well is evidenced in the latest blowout  of a Wildstream Resources  producing oil well on January 13, 2012 (legal location 06-09-035-03w5) where a horizontal well drilled and hydro fracked by Midway Energy (legal location 03-16-035-03w5) resulted in a major oil blowout and spill. This event occurred SW of Innisfail, Alberta.
This incident could have been a much more serious oil blowout had it not been noticed by the landowner that owns the property adjacent to the 06-09 well. The blowout occurred just before dark and if it had gone unnoticed it could have dispersed oil for more than 16 hours, probably not being discovered until a Wildstream operator would visit the site the following day.
It was particularly alarming that when this landowner tried to call in the emergency to the ERCB hotline, he was unable to get an answer! Fortunately he was able to get hold of our group, and we were able to notify the ERCB.
This incident could have been much worse. There is a definite potential to frack and cause a suspended, producing, or abandoned wellbore to blowout that is classified as high hydrogen sulfide (H2S). H2S has the extreme potential to cause serious health problems, or even death, to nearby residents that could be totally unaware of a blowout. The dangers of these types of unnoticed incidents that are great distances from the actual fracking site are simply a disaster waiting to happen.
The onus of the responsibility to address the concerns that have been raised rest entirely on your shoulders and in the event some serious incident does happen, without calling for a full Moratorium on hydraulic fracking, would indicate the departments and individuals listed above should be held completely accountable. It is time to step up to plate and not bury your head in the sand hoping nothing serious will happen.
Yours truly
Don Bester
President – Alberta Surface Rights Group
Innisfail, Alberta