The International Energy Association asserts that natural gas is poised to enter a golden age. This is particularly true for British Columbia, which possesses world-class shale gas reserves. Produced water – the water emanating from fracturing shale - is the largest waste stream associated with oil and gas activities. Wastewater associated with natural gas extraction is highly toxic and has serious implications for environmental and human health if spilled or leaked. Because of the corrosive nature of produced water pipeline leaks are more than twice as common as other product types. This paper identifies and assesses different policy options designed to improve the compliance of industry operators with regulations to reduce the frequency and severity of spills. Cross-jurisdictional and cross-industrial case studies are used in the methodology and supported by gap analysis. The viability of policy instruments is assessed according to effectiveness, community and stakeholder support, administrative complexity and cost, and the overall robustness and flexibility it adds to the regulatory framework.
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