Despite what the fossil fuel industry would have you believe – fracking and LNG are two of the fastest growing threats to our climate.

The gas industry intentionally tries to confuse the public and greenwash gas as a ‘cleaner’ fuel. But nothing could be further from the truth. Browse through some of the questions we get asked most frequently about fracking and LNG in B.C., and find out exactly why we’re working to end it.

Do you have a question we haven’t answered yet? Feel free to get in touch.


Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ is a method of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits. A mixture of water, 300-700 chemicals, and sand is pumped down a borehole at high pressure. The water pressure opens up cracks in the rock and the sand grains lodge into the spaces to keep them open, allowing the released gas to flow out of the rocks and travel back up the borehole.

There are currently over 31,000 active fracking wells in B.C. – predominantly in Northeastern B.C. This area is home to the Montney Shale Gas formation, one of the largest potential climate bombs in the world.

LNG is created by cooling fracked gas to -160ºC, creating a clear, colourless and liquid, 600 times smaller than natural gas. This makes it easier to transport in pipelines long distances, and to load on to tankers for global export. In B.C., there are five proposed export and liquefaction facilities proposed along the coast.

Both the government and industry in B.C. have touted Liquified Fracked Gas (LFG, also known as LNG) as a transition fuel to limit the burning of thermal coal for energy. However, project proponents admit that they cannot guarantee that the development of a Liquified Fracked Gas industry in B.C. would have any measurable impact on the mining or burning of thermal coal.

There are currently five export facilities proposed for B.C. These facilities would lead to a massive increase in fracking in Northeastern B.C., and support destructive pipelines through sacred Indigenous territory – such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Natural gas is actually mostly methane – a dangerous fossil fuel which traps 86 times more heat than the same amount of CO2. In B.C., over 80% of that gas is fracked – putting communities and waterways at risk from methane leaks into air and groundwater and the burning off of noxious gasses from flaring. In fact, last year the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission supported a new study which found that uncaptured methane leaks directly into the atmosphere were between 1.8 and 2x higher than originally thought.

LNG is just fracked gas which has been cooled down dramatically to make it easier for transport across distances – but it is a fossil fuel like any other. Continued investment in a nascent, and economically unviable LNG industry for B.C. is putting us further behind on zero-carbon alternatives that will be essential for facilitating a just transition away from fossil fuels and protecting communities from the worst impacts of climate change.

If even one of the five currently proposed LNG facilities are built, B.C. will have almost no chance of successfully meeting its 2030 or 2050 emission reduction targets.

And LNG Canada would be one of the worst climate culprits. Unlike other proposed terminals in B.C., LNG Canada would burn gas to power its compressors. This means they will emit roughly 3.45 megatonnes per year, making the terminal the largest single source of climate pollution in B.C. – before we even include the new downstream emissions from increased fracking. Click here to sign the petition to end the expansion of fracking and LNG in B.C.

There are already approximately 31,000 fracking wells in BC.  Each well uses around 80 million liters of water a year (that is 32 olympic swimming pools per well, or almost 500,000 total) about 84% of which gets turned into radioactive waste water.

Water studies conducted over the decades in Northeastern B.C. have shown an increase in trace minerals in ground and surface water such as benzene, strontium, manganese, and aluminum. Many of these are aligned with the chemicals used in fracking, or typically rock bound metals present in the area.

Fracking and fracked gas have been shown to have significant adverse effects on human health. In areas of heavy extraction, an increase in, and exacerbation of asthma has been documented, as well as increased adverse birth outcomes and childhood leukemia.

These are in addition to the rise in anxiety and mental health concerns caused by ongoing noise and light pollution that are a part of fracking operations.

In places where natural gas is used as a method for home heating, indoor fireplaces, or in cooking stoves, it has been shown to endanger indoor air quality and human health. We have the technology now to not have to choose between the health of our family and the planet, and access to affordable and reliable home energy and heating.

An increasing number of public subsidies and programs means that making climate safe choices on how to heat your home is more possible for more people. If the government used the subsidies and rebates they provide to the LNG industry to invest in renewable energy, climate friendly choices could become the most economic choices when it comes to heating your home.

Bunkering is LNG that is intended for use as a shipping fuel. Though deceptively marketed as a climate solution, LNG is not a climate-friendly fuel. LNG is an ineffective tool to reduce our emissions due both to the energy required to cool it and ship it, and due to widespread methane leakage from all areas of production. A recent report from the International Council on Clean Transportation found that using LNG fuel for cruise ships emitted 70-80% more lifecycle emissions than other traditional shipping fuels.

In addition, using LNG as a shipping fuel can lead to ‘methane slip’, where unburned methane escapes through the engine directly into the atmosphere. Methane is 86 times more toxic for the environment than CO2 – even in small amounts – and recent studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency reveals that natural gas production emits more methane than previously thought.

In B.C., fracked gas is currently being used to power a small number of B.C. ferries, despite the research that shows that using LNG for ship fuel can actually be worse for the climate than the dirty fuel currently being used around the world.

In B.C., Oil and gas accounts for 19% of our emissions, but contributes only 2% towards B.C.’s GDP, and accounts for only 0.5% of BC’s workforce.

B.C.’s oil and gas sector also depends heavily on being propped up by public subsidies. Even after recent reforms, B.C. still has some of the highest provincial fossil fuel subsidies in Canada, second only to Alberta. Without breaks on royalty rates to incentivise new fracking wells, deep discounts on water rates for oil and gas companies, and reduction on the carbon tax for LNG Canada, this industry and the pollution it creates, wouldn’t be a thing.

The LNG industry in B.C. is bad for communities, bad for the environment, and bad for meeting B.C.’s climate targets. Instead, B.C. should provide long-term prosperity to remote and northern communities through investing in the renewable energy sector.

Fracking has been banned or a moratorium has been put in place in over 11 jurisdictions. Recently, the state of California set a date by which it intends to phase out fracking, demonstrating that even in heavy oil and gas industry jurisdictions, an end to fracking is possible.

Right now, less than 12% of the gas extracted in B.C. stays in B.C. for domestic use. Meanwhile, the province produces a surplus of electrical power it has to try and sell to other jurisdictions in the US, because we don’t have a demand for it in B.C – and this is before mega electric projects like Site C become operational.

The liquefaction of fracked gas would make it easier to export, not use in the province – both of which are incompatible with a transition away from fossil fuels.

Many of the skills required for working in the fracking industry are easily transferable to other types of construction, renewable industries such as geothermal, and well reclamation. There are ample solar and wind resources that have been massively under developed in B.C. – and in the Northeast specifically. Right now, only 0.5% of B.C.’s workforce is employed in oil and gas – a manageable number of workers to transition.

Fracking has been banned, or has been put under a moratorium in many provincial and state jurisdictions, as well as many countries around the world. Some of these include:

In Canada:

  • Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland
  • Quebec

In the United States:

  • New York
  • California: While California failed to pass legislation designed to ban fracking in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom has directed legislators to proceed to phase out fracking in the state by 2024. In 2021, this led the state regulator CalGEM to deny permits for over 100 proposed new wells.

In Europe:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • UK: In November 2019, the UK Government announced a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in shale in England. This decision was taken on the basis of a report by the Oil & Gas Authority.
  • Scotland: In January 2015, the Scottish Government put a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland in place, following the publication of a report of an independent, expert, scientific panel.
  • Wales: Since 1 October 2018, licensing powers in Wales have been transferred to the Welsh Assembly Government, which has taken the decision not to support applications for hydraulic fracturing in Wales or fracking consents.

Two reasons: First, increasing the supply of LNG won’t necessarily bring down gas prices. Fortis has a commitment to its shareholders and has no reason to decrease gas prices from their current state. In fact, Fortis has already petitioned the B.C. Utilities Commissions – even before it has approval for its project – to allow it to pass on the $780 million in costs of this expansion, as well as capital and operating costs to B.C. ratepayers. Meaning that the cost of gas is more likely to go up than down.

Secondly, Fortis has publicly stated that this expansion will facilitate the export of gas from B.C. to serve other markets overseas – this will do nothing to decrease gas prices in B.C.

In addition to these financial impact of the project, industrial facilities like Tilbury can decrease air quality in the areas in which they are built, would lead to an increase in up to 365 additional tankers in the Fraser River Estuary annually, and could have a significant impact on endangered and threatened species of Trout, Salmon, and Southern Resident Killer Whales. Lastly, LNG is highly combustible, and the facility will be located directly across from a jet fuel storage facility – if an explosion were to occur at the facility, most of metro Vancouver as well as swaths of North and West Vancouver would be within the blast zone. Click here to email your MLA with your concerns about the Tilbury expansion.

Oil and gas companies are energy companies – they could be in the business of supplying wind or solar power, or heat pumps to B.C. residents. Or, they could be innovating to develop new zero-emission technology to replace conventional oil and gas, but instead they are investing in non-viable and expensive Carbon Capture and Storage technology and blue hydrogen – both dependent on fossil fuels and inconsistent with an energy transition. Energy companies have other options – many of them are simply choosing not to explore them.

The recent IPCC and IEA reports state unequivocally that this must be the turn-down-decade for oil and gas. Without a doubt, transitioning away from fossil fuels will mean changes to the way we live, but the longer we delay the transition the harder it will be and the more inequitable it will be. We need a just transition away from oil and gas for workers and communities, but that won’t be possible if we aren’t proactive in developing zero-emission alternatives. We may not feel ready for the transition, but we certainly aren’t prepared to survive the worst impacts of runaway climate change either.

Currently under construction by TC Energy, the 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline is intended to carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, B.C. where it will be converted to liquified natural gas (LNG) for export to global markets. Despite unequivocal Wet’suwet’en opposition to the project, the pipeline runs through 22,000 square kilometres of the Nation’s unceded territory. It also crosses more than 206 ecologically sensitive waterways. The pipeline is built to carry 2.1 billion cubic feet per day of fracked gas. When burned, this will produce an estimated 585.5 million pounds of C02 each day, which is equivalent to the C02 emissions released from burning over 300 million pounds of coal, or the greenhouse gas emissions from driving more than 59,000 passenger vehicles for a year. Click here to pressure banks to defund the Coastal GasLink project.