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Council joins call for independent review of fracking in Newfoundland & Labrador

Photo: Thursday's press conference. Photo by Gary Kean/ The Western Star.

Photo: Thursday’s press conference. Photo by Gary Kean/ The Western Star.

Halifax-based Council of Canadians Atlantic regional organizer Angela Giles recently participated in a Newfoundland and Labrador Fracking Awareness Network (NL-FAN) media conference calling for an independent public review of fracking in that province. A Mi’kmaq cultural leader from Stephenville Crossing, the Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group, Go Western Newfoundland, and the Gros Morne Coastal Alliance were present for the media conference.

As explained in their media release, “In November of 2013 the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that they would not accept any applications for oil exploration that involved hydraulic fracturing until they completed an internal review. …The latest Strategic Environmental Assessment for oil and gas exploration in Western Newfoundland released May 5 by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board does not assess the environmental and health impacts of hydraulic fracturing … [but concludes] that oil exploration including hydraulic fracturing can proceed as usual…”

The Independent reports, “On Thursday a coalition of 20 concerned groups called on the provincial government to conduct an independent, science-based public review of hydraulic fracturing before deciding whether or not to allow the controversial method of oil and gas extraction into the province. Organizations comprising the Newfoundland and Labrador Fracking Awareness Network from the tourism, environment, health, labour, fishery and other sectors, say the government’s promise of an internal review of fracking is not enough…”

“NL-FAN spokesperson Simon Jansen said the provincial government should take the Council of Canadian Academies’ report seriously and follow in the federal government’s footsteps by commissioning an independent external review of fracking based on an evaluation of the science available to date.”

“In a May 1 press release timed with the release of the CAA’s report the Council of Canadians condemned governments which have already allowed fracking into their provinces. ‘The lack of regulations and information means governments are not in a position to declare that fracking is safe’, said Emma Lui, water campaigner with the Council of Canadians.”

In December 2013, Giles, Lui and Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote the Premier and the Minister of Natural Resources stating, “We believe it is important that you consider a more comprehensive, independent and unbiased review as opposed to a government-led initiative.”

The Canadian Press also reported on the media conference, The Telegram covered it too.

Further reading
WIN! Gros Morne fracking proponent loses exploration licence