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Fredericton chapter fights against exclusion of Penobsquis from provincial fracking moratorium

Fredericton chapter activist Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.There are growing concerns that the promised fracking moratorium in New Brunswick will exclude Penobsquis.

Council of Canadians national water campaigner Emma Lui has written, “Penobsquis is an industry town and had its first non-conventional wells drilled in 2000 and 2001. Since then, many more rounds of seismic testing have taken place and several more wells have been drilled. This coupled with potash mining has resulted in personal-use water wells drying up, health concerns, and subsidence causing damage to homes and properties (and drastically decreasing real estate values). There are currently nearly 40 wells that are being fracked in Penobsquis.”

Now Global News reports, “Critics said the government may be straying from that position after the province’s energy minister was quoted in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal saying a ‘regional’ moratorium is an option the government is considering. …A regional moratorium would mean Corridor Resources could continue fracking in the Sussex area, supplying natural gas to the nearby Potash mine. …Corridor Resources president Steve Moran says his company needs to continue to drill and frack wells in the province and he is encouraged the government is taking the time to talk to the energy industry. …[The premier of New Brunswick Brian] Gallant says Corridor can use the already fracked wells.”

The news article highlights, “Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, with the Council of Canadians, says the government’s moratorium promise is something they need to make sure happens. ‘A moratorium means for the whole province, it doesn’t mean for the whole province except for Penobsquis.'”

In April, I visited Penobsquis with Lui and our Halifax-based Atlantic regional organizer Angela Giles. We met with Beth Nixon, a landowner and farmer who is fighting fracking on her land and who has seen firsthand the impacts that potash mining can have on people’s drinking water. The previous month we made a submission to Catarina de Albuquerque, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, on how fracking is violating of the human right to water in Penobsquis. As far back as March 2010, we noted, “More than 50 homes in the Penobsquis area have been without drinking water for more than five years. Many residents blame this situation on the local potash mine, but also on the 3-D and 2-D seismic testing done by Corridor Resources.”

Further reading
Spectre of NAFTA investor-state challenge looms over fracking moratorium in New Brunswick

Photo: Fredericton chapter activist Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy.