Greens oppose frack sand operation

On February 12, 2019, Green Party of Manitoba Environment Advocate Dave Nickarz sent a letter to Minister squire in opposition to the proposed Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project. Below is a copy of the text of that letter.

Minister Squires,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Green Party of Manitoba in my capacity as Environment Advocate, concerning the Wanipigow Sand Extraction Project, aka the fracking sand mine.  

We invite you to refuse to issue the permit on the grounds of climate change.  

The proposed fracking sand mine will facilitate the expansion of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas operations across the continent at a time when we need to stop the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.  

The International Energy Agency says we need to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure to keep global average temperature rise below 2 degrees celsius.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says at the current rate, we have 12 years before we surpass the lower threshold of 1.5 degrees celsius.

We are already seeing the effects of the climate crisis in the form of deadly heat waves, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, flooding and drought around the world.   There is a carbon budget which is much more important to the planet than any other economic budget.

This is the primary reason for our request.  There is no room in the carbon budget for the expansion and facilitation of the fossil fuel industry.  

In addition to the climate concerns, the proposal will cause localised pollution;

  • Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas across North America often damages groundwater and can releases hydrogen sulfide gas which is dangerous to human and animal health.  

  • The project also will release greenhouse gasses from digging up of peat bogs and sphagnum moss at the mining site.  

  • The mining and storage of silica sand will release silica dust into the air to between two and five times the maximum recommended air quality index, according to the proposal on page 68.  Silica is known to cause diseases like lung cancer. The people living in the area and the workers will be exposed to silica dust.

  • Increased traffic on Provincial Road 304 and Highway 59 from the truck transport of silica sand will increase traffic accidents and collisions with wildlife.  To move the proposed 1 million tonnes of sand per year by truck, the company will need to run 120 trucks per day, every day of the year. This is quite the increase in dangerous road traffic, which also might need the upgrade of Provincial Road 304, likely at the taxpayer expense.  

Due to all these reasons, we strongly urge the rejection of the proposed silica sand mining operation.

Thanks,

 

David Nickarz

Environment Advocate

Green Party of Manitoba