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NEWS: Nova Scotia delays decision on fracking to summer of 2014

Angela Giles

Angela Giles

The CBC reports, “The Nova Scotia government is delaying a decision on the controversial shale gas extraction process, known as fracking, until after the next provinicial election. The government was originally going to decide the fate of hydraulic fracturing this spring, but now it will be at least another two years. Premier Darrell Dexter said Monday that his government wants to wait until other provinces, the United States and Environment Canada table their reviews before making a decision. That will push back the province’s review of the controversial mining practice to at least the summer of 2014.”

The Chronicle Herald adds, “(Critics suggest the) NDP is trying to avoid the issue until after the next election, expected as early as next spring.”

“Ken Summers, a member of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition, came to the same conclusion. ‘The one year that they had allowed for the review was, in our opinion, never enough time,’ he said in an interview from his home in Minasville. ‘Merely taking another year doesn’t necessarily mean anything except it takes us past the next election.’ Summers lives in an area of the province where at least two test wells have already been fracked.”

“Jennifer West, co-ordinator for the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition, said she was encouraged by Nova Scotia’s move. However, she said her group would prefer a full-fledged moratorium backed by provincial legislation. West said the government has come to realize that the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment is a complex issue. ‘They now realize, having waded in so far, that there’s sharks in the water’, she said. ‘It has so many suspicious and suspect side effects. … At first it looked like low-hanging fruit, but it’s more difficult than that.'”

“As of Monday, no fracking will be approved during the extended review, said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau.”

The Council of Canadians
In an August 2011 blog, Council of Canadians Atlantic organizer Angela Giles wrote, “The NDP government here in NS has started a review process, which many folks have participated in by contributing a written submission in the first stage. Many people have raised concerns with this process however, which include the limited scope of the process as well as methods of engagement and time limitations.”

Emma Lui

Emma Lui

That summer, Giles and water campaigner Emma Lui submitted a 7-page letter to this provincial review on fracking. They wrote, “We urge the government of Nova Scotia to ban fracking to protect water sources for current and future generations. Until a ban is implemented, we recommend that: All fracking projects should require an environmental impact assessment as well as a water permit from Nova Scotia Environment. Industry should be required to disclose all substances used in the fracking process until a ban is implemented.” That letter can be read at http://canadians.org/water/documents/fracking/submission-NS-study-review-0611.pdf.

The Council of Canadians will continue to call for a ban on fracking in Nova Scotia.

To sign our ‘Don’t frack with our water!’ petition – and make a donation to the Council of Canadians national fracking campaign – please go to http://canadians.org/action/2011/fracking.html. For the Council of Canadians campaign web-page on fracking, see http://canadians.org/fracking.