Memorial Presents

What are the Environmental Risks of Fracking on Landscapes and Watersheds?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015, 7:30pm NST

Civic Centre, Corner Brook, NL

Event Description

The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing is currently under review in the Newfoundland and Labrador. Join two national experts for a public forum to explore some of the environmental risks and policy implications of fracking.

North America is currently experiencing a fracking boom. In the U.S., up to 100 new wells are being drilled every day. What are the methods behind this boom and what effects might they have on the environment? The presentation will provide a general overview of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for “tight” (e.g., shale) oil and gas. Industry best practices for protecting the environment will be reviewed. It will then identify the potential risks for water contamination and other environmental consequences. The presentation will provide a summary of what we currently know about the environmental risks associated with fracking and where there is need for further research. The focus will not be solely on the drilling phase, but will include the cumulative effects of all phases, from exploration to decommissioning.

Shale gas production has been considered a "game changer" in the U.S. but remains controversial. It is closely linked to issues of national interest and security abroad. But it has also been linked to water and environmental health problems. In Canada it has played out differently as reflected in divergent policy responses. The presentation will explore the key political and policy issues surrounding shale gas production and water management focusing on what kind of tensions exist, and what kind of processes are required or necessary to make sure both scientific and lay expertise have a voice in decision-making.


Dr. Michael Quinn is the Talisman Energy Chair and Director of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB. He is currently leading a national study for the Canadian Water Network (commissioned by Environment Canada) to identify information and knowledge gaps related to the landscape effects of hydraulic fracturing on surface waters and watersheds. His research and teaching interests focus on complex natural resource management and environment issues with the goal of sustaining societies and natural environments. Before joining Mount Royal University in January 2013, he was a member of the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary for 16 years, where he also served a term as Associate Dean. He has held academic positions at Lakehead University, the University of New Brunswick and the School for Field Studies. Michael holds a B.Sc. in Forest Science from the University of Alberta, an M.Sc. in Forestry and Wildlife from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from York University.

Dr. Stephen Tomblin is a full professor in the Department of Political Science and Medicine (Community Health) at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In addition to administrative service in the political science department, Tomblin has served as the Principal Investigator for the Atlantic Regional Training Centre. As the result of a Canadian Health Services Research Foundation Career Renewal Award, Tomblin has begun linking earlier research on regionalization (dealing with economic development, continentalism and other cross-border issues) with health restructuring developments, including efforts to devolve power on a regional basis.


This event is being presented in conjunction with the Enviromental Poicy Institute