Environmental law firm Ecojustice has announced it will be representing Sierra Club BC and the Wilderness Committee as they take the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission to court. The lawsuit seeks an order to declare the commission’s practice of repeatedly granting short-term water approvals to oil and gas companies as unlawful.

The Oil and Gas Commission has been accused of using water illegally for fracking. Credit: Joshua Doubek

“Our clients’ position is that the Oil and Gas Commission is violating the Water Act and thereby unlawfully allowing oil and gas companies to drain water from lakes, rivers and streams in the northeast for drilling and fracking,” said Ecojustice staff lawyer, Karen Campbell, in a statement. “Our clients are worried that the hundreds of short term approvals issued every year under the Water Act are having an impact on water resources and the environment.”

According to the Globe and Mail, commission spokesman Hardy Friedrich has said that water use is closely monitored and that fracking wells are insulated with cement to a depth of 600 metres to protect surrounding soil and water from contamination.

“The commission takes its responsibility for water allocation very seriously and all applications go through a thorough review process,” Friedrich said in an email response to the Globe and Mail. “This process ensures water levels are maintained.”

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