Peace Region MLAs have yet to see fracking health report

The Peace Region's MLAs say they have yet to see a soon-to-be-released report into the health impacts of oil and gas development in the northeast.

According to the Ministry of Health, the final phase of its study on hydraulic fracturing and public health is expected to be released "very soon."

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Titled "Identifying Health Concerns relating to oil and gas development in northeastern B.C.," the report is an in-depth look at public concerns and scientific data on fracking.

A ministry spokesperson wrote that "were there an imminent public health risk [from fracking], we would immediately disclose that and inform the public."

The report's second phase was a review of the science on the health risks of fracking.

That section of the report has been sitting on Health Minister Terry Lake's desk "since last fall," according to a report in the Globe and Mail.

Delta MLA Vicki Huntington asked the minister in the legislature why the findings had not been published. She added that requests for the data under the Freedom of Information Act have been delayed.

The report is currently under review by five different ministries, the Globe reports.

MLAs Mike Bernier and Pat Pimm say that while they haven't seen the findings, they've asked for a chance to read the report before it's published.

"I asked the ministry, and they confirmed that all of the phase two we said we were going to do is done," Bernier said. "They're compiling all the data, and they'll be releasing a report in the next couple months."

"I asked that myself and Pat Pimm both get a look at that before it goes out," he said. "Obviously people in the area have concerns, and I want to make sure I have that information."

Pimm said the ministries were still compiling data from the study.

"We'll hopefully have an opportunity to sit in on those discussions," he said.

The first section, drafted by the environmental non-profit Fraser Basin Council, received more than 300 comments and submissions from individuals, governments and industry.

It was released in 2012.

Some residents attributed a host of ailments, including "asthma and bronchitis, cancer, stress and sleep deprivation" to living near oil and gas operations, the report states.

"The overall concern of many respondents was uncertainty and not being fully informed of the extent and nature of possible long-term health effects on individuals and communities within close proximity of oil and gas operations," the authors wrote.

"Many of the respondents believe their health and the health of their families has been adversely affected or may be affected in the future by increased oil and gas
activity."

The study also looked at the industry's impact on local hospitals and clinics.

Improved air quality monitoring in the northeast was one outcome of the first report, a ministry spokesperson said in an email.    

reporter@dcdn.ca

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