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NEWS: First Nations in the Atlantic region express concern about fracking

CBC reports, “There is concern about the impact of the (fracking) industry on the environment and the level of consultation the provincial government has had with First Nations communities in New Brunswick.”

The Maliseet Grand Council – “Harry LaPorte, the Grand Chief of the Maliseet Grand Council, said he is concerned about the effects drilling and the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, which is used to extract natural gas from shale formations, could have on the province’s water supply.” The Grand Chief says, “It (the mix of water, sand and chemicals used in the process) has a tendency to leak into our wells, our drinking water, our lakes, our streams, our rivers. And the things, the chemicals that they pump in to Mother Earth to cause this fracking, leaks out into our water. You know, our water is life, right? Nothing lives without water, so if our waters are contaminated that means no life around.”

The St. Mary’s First Nation – “Angee Acquin, a member of the St. Mary’s First Nation near Fredericton, said she agrees with LaPorte’s concerns over the water supply. She helped construct a large teepee on the front lawn of the provincial legislature the day of its opening session. ‘This is our traditional grounds right here in downtown Fredericton,’ she said. ‘We as First Nations people, we have a responsibility to Mother Earth, below the four inches that other people might own. We have a responsibility to be caretakers to the Earth.’ St. Mary’s Chief Candice Paul said she’s heard from many members of her community who share Acquin’s concerns. …The province is legally obligated to hold meaningful consultations with First Nations people before developments like shale gas can go ahead. (But) Paul said that hasn’t happened, and is calling on the government to cancel all existing exploration licences, and come back to the table with First Nations.”

The Assembly of First Nations – Unfortunately, “Roger Augustine, the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, representing New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, said there is a division within the community. (While acknowledging some are expressing concerns, Augustine says), ‘I also know in some parts of Alberta, the First Nations are conducting business with mining companies that use the fracking system.’ Elsipogtog Chief Jesse Simon, who is also the co-chair of the Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick, is one who shares this view. He said he agrees with the philosophy that First Nations people haven’t been properly consulted or accomodated throughout the process. But he’s also waiting to collect information on possible economic and environmental effects, should a shale gas industry take off in the next few years.”

The Waycobah First Nation – Earlier this year, the Halifax Chronicle Herald reported, “Local residents (in Inverness County, Nova Scotia) and members of the nearby Waycobah First Nation have expressed concerns (that fracking by PetroWorth near Lake Ainslie) could be used to extract the resource from the shale.”

The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide stop to fracking operations. We will also be launching a petition campaign shortly to put pressure on the federal government to step into a leadership role and ensure that our water sources, people’s health and the environment are protected from unnecessary and dangerous pollution.