Ecojustice filed a lawsuit with the B.C. Supreme Court on November 13, 2013 on behalf of Sierra Club B.C. and the Wilderness Committee. The lawsuit challenges a B.C. Oil and Gas Commission practice of granting repeated short-term water use approvals to oil and gas companies for fracking operations.
These approvals, issued under the province’s Water Act, are typically used to permit water withdrawals for up to two years for short-term projects such as construction or roadwork. Water usage beyond the two-year limit would require a water licence and the additional oversight such a licence entails. Ecojustice says the Commission is “undermining BC’s water management regime and allowing these companies to dewater northern BC” by repeatedly granting short-term approvals (in some cases) for up to five years. Encana Corporation, one of B.C.’s natural gas players, is also named in the suit.