Today the Council of Canadians stood shoulder to shoulder with allies from the local environmental movement, frontline community members, fishing associations and two First Nations bands in opposition to the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project. We have voiced our opposition based on the risks posed to, and lack of proper consultation of, the surrounding communities.
I took part on a press conference with six other individuals representing concerned groups that will be all be filing appeals to the Minister of the Environment to repeal the approval given to Alton Gas last month. Today was a more public showing of what has been happening on a grassroots level for many months. As Cheryl Maloney, from Sipekne’katik First Nation said, “…our community started to get together with other Nova Scotians. And when I stood there on that first day of our protest, I was nervous no one would show up. But one by one, people started coming. And it wasn’t just the Mi’kmaq. It was fishers. It was people from the city. It was elders. And very quickly his became more than just a Mi’kmaq issue. It become a Nova Scotia issue.”
Below is a copy of the statement I read at the press conference:
“The Council of Canadians fights for environmental and water justice. We recognize our freshwater sources as part of a shared commons, which come with a shared duty to protect. Water is human right, and as such must be protected from misuse and pollution. The Alton Natural Gas Storage Project poses direct risks to several households located in the area which rely on dug and drilled wells. The application submitted by Alton Gas downplayed this risk. They state that the surrounding residences “may have potable water wells” and that “some rely on tanker truck delivery.”
After speaking to residents in the area, we have found that the reality is that well-water is the primary source of drinking water in the neighbourhood. On occasion, some residents do require trucked-in water to top off their wells; however, if this project were to disrupt or contaminate the wells and aquifers in the area, these residents would require trucked-in water year round. We find the risks posed to the local residents’ drinking water from cavern failure or seepage to be in violation of the human right to water and sanitation. The government has an obligation to undertake measures to protect, respect and fulfill this human right. As such, the Council of Canadians calls on the Department of Environment to repeal the approval for Alton Natural Gas Storage Project.”
The appeals are due to the Minister February 19th by 4:30pm AST.
If you are concerned about this Alton Gas Natural Storage Project, you can write, call or tweet to Premier Stephen McNeil (@StephenMcNeil) and Minister of Environment Margaret Miller (@ns_environment) demanding Alton Gas is ordered to halt the operations while these appeals are being considered.
The Unacceptable Risk of Alton Gas Storage by Tori Ball