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Lui blog sparks local media interest, Chiefs of Ontario resolution against fracking

The Ontario Geological Survey (which is part of the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines) drilled test holes for shale gas near Little Current on Manitoulin Island in 2012. That information was buried in the Ontario Geological Survey publication ‘Summary of Field Work and Other Activities for 2012, Section 29 on the Potential Ordovician Shale Gas Units in Southern Ontario’.

Little Current

The Manitoulin Expositor reports that this hidden information was revealed in an online blog by Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui, who also highlighted this news in an article in Canadian Perspectives.

And now, with that information, “The Chiefs of Ontario have made it clear they are opposed to fracking taking place anywhere in Ontario, including Manitoulin.”

Manitoulin Island is an island in Lake Huron. It separates the larger part of Lake Huron to its south and west from Georgian Bay to its east. The island itself has 108 freshwater lakes and four major rivers. On-line sources note that Manitoulin means spirit island in Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language). The island is considered sacred by the Native Anishinaabe people, who call themselves the ‘People of the Three Fires’. They are generally known as the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi tribes. 

Background

In 2010, the Ministry of Natural Resources released an aerial survey of shale formations in Ontario with the purpose of assisting gas companies in exploration. The Ontario Geological Survey recently released a report detailing drilling programs that took place in Southern Ontario to obtain shale gas samples. The report was part of a three year study assessing shale gas potential in the Great Lakes Basin.

In March of that year, following a Toronto Star news report about Calgary-based Mooncor Oil & Gas Corp. buying land rights in southwestern Ontario for the purposes of fracking, Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara spoke in Chatham, Ontario against the practise. Then in October, Council of Canadians energy campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue and Board member Steven Shrybman presented concerns about fracking to the Ontario Energy Board.

In December 2012, we called for a ban on fracking in Ontario, highlighted the lack of consultation with First Nations, and raised the spectre of a NAFTA investor-state challenge. 

Lui stated then, “The Ontario government has been trying to attract industries to frack in Ontario before consulting First Nations and communities. At the very least, we need a full public debate and provincial review on fracking now that the government has assessed shale gas potential in the provinces. Once the government issues exploration permits, it becomes much more difficult to rescind these permits if they decide fracking is harmful, given trade agreements such as NAFTA. Ontario is already the target of $1.5 billion worth of NAFTA investor lawsuits – we can’t risk any other lawsuits.”

We’ll continue to follow this issue.

Further reading
Fracking in its ‘infancy’ in Ontario
Will we see fracking 40-km south-east of Ottawa?