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Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada: Regulation by Moratorium or Specialized Agencies in Landscapes of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

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Regulating Water Security in Unconventional Oil and Gas

Part of the book series: Water Security in a New World ((WSEC))

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Abstract

Over the past decade hydraulic fracturing activities have rapidly transformed the landscape in some regions of Canada, with both public and private sector drives to expand the oil and gas industry taking precedence over long term water stewardship. Within the Canadian federation, provincial governments have devolved responsibility for both water management and the regulation of unconventional oil and gas. Provinces tend to issue renewable short-term water licences for fracking activities under regulatory review processes that are separate from normal water licensing processes. This separation of regulatory function, the sheer volume of water use involved, and the scale of fracking has resulted in conflicts over water use and unregulated storage and use of water for the industry. In addition, Indigenous communities’ aboriginal and treaty rights to water-based activities, such as fishing, are threatened by the extent of fracking activity and lack of hydrological data. These same First Nations are advocating for region- and watershed-wide water strategies to create objectives for long-term land and water planning that address the impacts of fracking and establish collaborative management structures for decision-making.

Thanks to Kelly Firth for careful research on the regulatory regime in BC. Special thanks to Kara Shaw, Lana Lowe, Ben Parfitt, and Oliver Brandes for ongoing discussions and information.

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Correspondence to Deborah Curran .

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Curran, D. (2020). Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada: Regulation by Moratorium or Specialized Agencies in Landscapes of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. In: Buono, R., López Gunn, E., McKay, J., Staddon, C. (eds) Regulating Water Security in Unconventional Oil and Gas. Water Security in a New World. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-18342-4_15

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