LETHBRIDGE: The Kainai Earth Watch Conference at the University of Lethbridge Thursday focussed a great deal of attention on oil and gas development, and how it affects the environment.
They specifically looked at "fracking", a process that involves opening up fractures underground by putting chemicals into them. The process makes it easier and less expensive to recover oil and natural gas.
U-of-L Professor Doctor Jim Byrne noted that there are some serious concerns that need to be considered when looking at the method.
First he explained that the process is generally used to recover numerous smaller deposits in an area, meaning it takes more equipment then for a larger site. That means there's more trucks and other machinery needed, which in turn puts more pressure on the local environment.
He also noted that when creating larger fractures underground, there's the potential to contaminate ground water. He added that once it happens the well is no longer viable.
Byrne explained that one of his biggest issues with fracking, is the fact that there have been very few independant reviews done on what kind of an impact it can have on an area. He stated that until more reviews are done, we shouldn't assume it's safe.