Council of Canadian Academies | CCA | Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada

Posted: October 23, 2015 in Environment, Science

Members of the Expert Panel on Harnessing Science and Technology to Understand the Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction at a site visit near Calgary, AB, as part of their second panel meeting, August 2012.

Key findings

Although the technologies and techniques used in extracting shale gas are understood, more research and information is needed on the potential environmental impacts that could result from this process. In Canada, shale gas development has moved forward in British Columbia and Alberta while potential development is still being explored in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Unlike the United States, Canadian development has moved at a slower pace. This slower pace of development presents a unique opportunity for Canada to take the time to explore and determine the proper management practices to develop its shale gas resources responsibly.

For Canada, regional context matters. Environments, ecosystems, geographies, and geologies are not uniform across the country. Therefore, consideration of different potential regional impacts need to be closely considered when determining the suitability for shale gas development.

Overall, the Panel found that well-targeted science is required to ensure a better understanding of the environmental impacts of shale gas development. Currently, data about environmental impacts are neither sufficient nor conclusive.

The Panel’s assessment focused on a number of environmental impacts. They include:

– Well Integrity
– Water (groundwater and surface)
– Greenhouse Gas Emissions

– Land Impacts and Seismic Events

– Human Health

– Monitoring and Research

Source: Council of Canadian Academies | CCA | Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada


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