British Columbians Oppose Fracking, Split on LNG Development

Support for the government’s LNG push has dropped, while negative concerns over fracking have increased.

Vancouver, BC – Fewer British Columbians are supportive of the provincial government’s push for liquefied natural gas (LNG), a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample, 43% of British Columbians support the provincial government’s intention to expand the development and export of LNG, while 41% are opposed. This is a significant change from the numbers registered in August 2013, when 50% of residents welcomed the proclaimed LNG expansion and only 32% opposed it.

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The drop in support for LNG expansion is accompanied by hardened views on hydraulic fracturing or fracking—the procedure by which oil and gas companies inject water and chemicals into the ground to fracture underlying shale rock formations and extract natural gas.

Three-in-five British Columbians (62%) say they are familiar with fracking and more than half (55%) say the procedure is currently being done in the province. However, only 23% of residents support fracking, while 61% (+14 since August 2013) are opposed to it.

When asked about some of the benefits of fracking, 54% of British Columbians believe it will lead to more jobs in the province, and say LNG is more environmentally friendly than coal or other fuels (also 54%). While 51% think fracking will lead to more foreign investment in the province, only 41% believe it will lower natural gas prices by increasing supply and less than two-in-five (37%) expect fracking to make British Columbia a world leader in exporting LNG.

More than three-in-five British Columbians are concerned about specific effects of fracking, including the perception of containment ponds being an environmental hazard (68%), the negative impact and alteration of the landscape (62%) and the contamination of the water supply (also 62%). More than half are also worried about fracking triggering earthquakes (57%), causing increased health problems among residents (53%) and leading to higher carbon emissions (51%).

Only 15% of British Columbians (-6 since August 2013) think LNG will bring significant benefits to all BC residents, while 42% (+3) believe it will exclusively benefit some communities. Three-in-ten British Columbians (28%, +6) say LNG will not bring benefits to most BC residents.

“The public’s distaste towards fracking is playing a role in perceptions of the provincial government’s actions on the LNG file,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “However, fewer British Columbians in 2016 believe that the LNG industry will be auspicious for every resident of the province.”

About Insights West:
Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this release:
Results are based on an online study conducted from March 16 to March 18, 2016, among 802 adult residents of British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Click to view the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: dfbphotos