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NEWS: Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court to decide on Lake Ainslie by March 21

The Council of Canadians opposes both the planned exploratory drilling for oil as well as the possibility of fracking by Lake Ainslie, located in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. As noted in media reports, “Petroworth’s proposed oil well would sit about 600 metres from Cape Breton’s largest freshwater lake, and only about 30 metres from a brook that is part of the Margaree River watershed.”

In late-December, the Canadian Press reported, “(Nova Scotia) Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau says Petroworth Resources Inc. can proceed with its plan to drill an exploratory oil well in Lake Ainslie. The decision announced (on December 20) upholds approval given earlier this year by the provincial departments of Environment and Energy (July and September, respectively). The Margaree Environmental Association appealed the (government’s) approval in October, giving Belliveau 60 days to rule on it. Belliveau said in a statement that he found there’s not sufficient evidence to overturn the approval.”

MetroNews reported, “(Margaree Environmental Association co-chairman) Neal Livingston said (on December 21 that) the association has filed a (Nova Scotia Supreme Court) appeal to quash a permit that would allow Petroworth to drill a conventional oil and gas test well near Lake Ainslie. If the group’s court challenge is successful, the ruling could be used by other communities to stop the oil and gas industry from drilling too close to homes and in ecologically sensitive areas, Livingston said in an interview… ‘We’re going to court because it was absolutely inappropriate that the minister had given this authority (for drilling) so close to homes and watercourses,’ he said. …The appeal process should take about three months (by March 21), during which the environmental group will be poised to file an injunction should Petroworth start drilling, Livingston said. …The company website says it has until July 15, 2012, to drill the test well.”

And CBC noted, “(Margaree Environmental Association) lawyer Derek Simon said the planned drilling lacks adequate environmental planning. ‘In this case none of those protections were there. No environmental assessment, no setback requirements for oil wells or flarestacks whatsoever,’ he said.”

To read Council of Canadians blogs about this situation – dating back to September 2010 – please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22lake+ainslie%22.