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Court ruling could bring suspension of fracking exploration in New Brunswick

CBC reports this hour, “The Elsipogtog First Nation and SWN Resources Canada will learn Monday whether a judge will force the energy company to stop shale gas exploration in a large swath of New Brunswick. Lawyers with the band, the company and the province spent Friday afternoon arguing over the case in Court of Queen’s Bench in Fredericton. Justice Judy Clendenning has reserved her decision until Monday.”


Another news report says the ruling will come on Monday at 4 pm AT.


“(Lawyers for the Elsipogtog First Nation) said the province didn’t properly consult aboriginal communities on shale gas development, a legal requirement. …In its application for an injunction, Elsipogtog argued the New Brunswick government is ‘engaging in what amounts to impermissible self-help’ to SWN Resources by permitting shale gas exploration without sufficient consultation with the aboriginal community, as required under the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Haida Nation v. British Columbia in 2004. (The injunction) seeks a court order to suspend all exploration activities in the Signitog District of Mi’kmaki, which covers most of New Brunswick south of the Miramichi River and a portion of Nova Scotia, where it borders New Brunswick.”


The article also notes, “The trucks used for seismic testing were not out Friday. Instead, they sat parked behind a fence at the Caledonia Industrial Park in Moncton.” Despite this, there is concern that the trucks could attempt to conduct seismic testing over the weekend.


And with some hyperbole, “(Premier David Alward) said the ongoing opposition to SWN Resource’s shale exploration puts at risk not only the company’s plans, but also a proposed mine north of Fredericton and a planned pipeline to bring Alberta crude to the Irving refinery in Saint John.” Alward is referring to the Energy East pipeline and presumably the proposed tungsten mine being pursued by Vancouver-based Northcliff Resources in Stanley, about 30-kilometres north of the city. Concerns are already being expressed that the mine would pollute the Nashwaak watershed.