Update from the Suffield hearings

This is the second week the Joint Review Panel has been hearing testimony on EnCana’s proposal to drill 1,275 shallow gas wells and build over 200 km of pipelines in CFB Suffield NWA. Cross examination of EnCana’s panel of experts took longer than expected and only late this afternoon did our environmental coalition’s panel begin their presentations. But it was certainly worth the wait! One by one, our seven experts showed that EnCana has no reliable data to support its proposal. Among many things, our experts showed today:

– That EnCana can recover the gas without new wells.

– That the ecosystem and wildlife of the NWA is worth more than the gas under it.

– That the NWA has an important role in enabling Canada to fulfill its international commitments on biodiverity and wetlands conservation, as well as its national conservation goals.

– That EnCana’s data simply do not support its claims that the project would have insignificant effects on the NWA and its unique species.

One example worth mentioning: EnCana claims that disturbances created by their expanded operations will actually improve habitat for the threatened Ord’s kangaroo rat, but according to COSEWIC’s assessment and other experts, this is anything but a viable habitat source; instead it will lead to higher mortality with population implications for the species. The full transcripts and evidence are available online.

Other intersting news around EnCana include the announcement that the company has postponed its plans to split into two companies and reports of an apparent attack on an EnCana sour gas pipeline in BC, near Dawson Creek.