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NEWS: Fracking concerns in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

CBC reports, “Every state and provincial jurisdiction in North America has different rules for oil and gas extraction, but when it comes to shale gas, a common theme emerges: science and regulation have lagged behind the rapid growth of the industry.”

“Nova Scotia’s Dexter government has launched a review of its regulations, but (Hants County resident Ken) Summers said it should have happened long ago, before the industry even began testing.” To read the Council of Canadians submission to the Nova Scotia review process, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10959.

“In preparing its own regulations on fracking, the Alward government (in New Brunswick) has looked to other provinces, but also to the United States… In New Brunswick, ‘all chemicals (used in the fracking process) will have to be made public, period,’ according to government spokesperson Marc Belliveau. But the precise mix is commercial, proprietary information that the companies keep closely guarded. Belliveau says the companies will disclose the mix to the government, which will issue or refuse licenses based on that information, but that information won’t be made public.”

“(ProPublica journalist Abrahm) Lustgarten said New Brunswick’s commitment to baseline water testing is a good idea. Water will be tested before fracking begins to provide a comparison, so that no one can claim chemicals found later occurred naturally. But he also issued a caution: in many states, the oil and gas regulators have little or no expertise in environmental issues or health. Residents who live near drilling sites often complain about symptoms such as headaches and respiratory ailments, but there is no tracking of those ailments to establish, or rule out, a link to the industry.”

In late-November, CBC reported, “Canada’s environment minister (Peter Kent) says he has the power to stop hydro-fracking in New Brunswick (and by extension in Nova Scotia too, as well as in the rest of the country), but it’s unclear if he will intervene.” More on that at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12238.

This weekend, the Council of Canadians is helping to bring two experts – Cornell University professor Anthony Ingraffea and Alberta anti-fracking activist Jessica Ernst – to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to speak on the issue of fracking. Both will be speaking in Halifax this evening and then again at a conference on Saturday in Truro. For more information, please go to http://canadians.org/events/index.html.

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.