Review of Approaches to and Best Practices in the Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing in Canada: Appendix M of the Final Report of the Newfoundland & Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel

William Lahey


This report was commissioned by the NLHFRP Water Quality Review Project at Memorial University on behalf of the Western NL Hydraulic Fracturing Panel. The terms of reference called for research on “approaches taken to the  regulation of hydraulic fracturing in other jurisdictions, paying particular attention to the identification of regulatory  best practices, with a view to coming to conclusions on what changes should be made in the law and regulatory practices of Newfoundland & Labrador as regards the activity of hydraulic fracturing”. The areas of regulatory practice  to be considered included regulations on:

    ... how wells are drilled, completed, stimulated, produced, suspended and abandoned in a manner that assures well bore integrity, considers the risk imposed by the unique reservoir characteristics of the play and the technologies being used (such as inter-wellbore communication)

The areas of regulation to be researched included regulation on the approval process, filing requirements and design of hydraulic fracturing, including the chemicals used.

The specific research questions to be addressed were as follows:

1. What are the regulatory oversight mechanisms in other Canadian jurisdictions where hydraulic fracturing operations occur?  

2. How does the current regulatory framework in Newfoundland & Labrador compare?  

3. What are the best practices to ensure appropriate oversight for hydraulic fracturing operations?  

4. Should there be ongoing environmental monitoring during and after hydraulic fracturing operations?  

5. What actions/regulations/best practices will ensure appropriate regulatory oversight and responsibility?  

This report provides answers to each of these questions. It uses the answer provided to the first question – on the regulatory oversight mechanisms used in other Canadian jurisdictions – as foundational to the answers given to the other four questions.


Law and Policy; Environmental Law; Law and Policy

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