Monitoring, management, and oversight critical for responsible shale gas development

May 1, 2014

A new expert panel report, Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada, concludes that shale gas development must be supported by well-targeted science and management strategies to understand and mitigate potential impacts. The report, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses environmental and associated health impacts and offers insights regarding public engagement and trust.

Shale gas is leading an energy boom which is having profound economic, environmental, and social impacts across much of North America. Shale gas has been characterized as an energy "game changer" because it is abundant, often close to major markets, and relatively inexpensive to produce. As the world's third-largest natural gas producer, fourth-largest exporter, and possessing vast shale gas resources of its own, Canada has a major stake in this new source of energy.

"For Canada, regional context matters. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work to address the various potential environmental impacts that may exist across Canada's diverse regions," said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President of the Council of Canadian Academies. "As such, communities and decision-makers will need to consider potential environmental impacts within their own contexts and decision-making processes."

The Panel's sheds light on a variety of potential environmental impacts associated with well integrity; groundwater and surface water; ; land impacts and seismic events; and human health. The report also addresses the importance baseline and ongoing monitoring, and the need for research and data-gathering.

The Expert Panel was not asked to conduct a safety assessment, determine the economic feasibility of development, or compare energy sources. The report provides a comprehensive examination of potential impacts and insights on how best to mitigate them. Environment Canada's foresight in requesting this examination provides governments, industry, and other stakeholders with an in-depth resource for considering future Canadian development.

Explore further: First risk assessment of shale gas fracking to biodiversity

More information:

Related Stories

First risk assessment of shale gas fracking to biodiversity

June 17, 2013

Fracking, the controversial method of mining shale gas, is widespread across Pennsylvania, covering up to 280,000 km² of the Appalachian Basin. New research in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences explores the ...

EU issues framework for shale gas exploitation

January 22, 2014

The European Commission issued Wednesday recommendations to ensure that clear environmental safeguards are in place when the controversial technique of "fracking" is used to tap shale gas reserves.

Book offers simplified guide to shale gas extraction

April 17, 2014

The new book, "Science Beneath the Surface: A Very Short Guide to the Marcellus Shale," attempts to offer a reader-friendly, unbiased, scientific guide needed to make well-informed decisions regarding energy use and, more ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.