PetroWorth Resources Inc. is set to start drilling more than 1200 metres beneath the ground for oil and gas just 2,000 feet from the shore of Lake Ainslie, the largest freshwater lake in Nova Scotia. The lake drains north through the Margaree River into the Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Area residents are concerned about the lake and their groundwater being polluted by PetroWorth.
On September 20, the NDP government of Nova Scotia announced PetroWorth has their permission to drill for oil and gas near Lake Ainslie, but not for fracking. The provincial ministries of energy and environment that approved the drilling say that PetroWorth has a plan to deal with wastewater, noise and air quality issues.
It has been noted that PetroWorth has between Saturday November 5 and Sunday July 15 to start drilling.
Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has committed to visit Lake Ainslie as soon as possible to speak against the oil and gas drilling near the lake.
For more than a year now, the Inverness County chapter of the Council of Canadians has been speaking against fracking and oil/gas drilling by Lake Ainslie. Some highlight of their work include:
September 2010: CBC reports, “‘We have concerns about our health. We have concerns about the ecology of the lake. And we’re concerned about our drinking water,’ Anne Levesque, of the Inverness County chapter of the Council of Canadians, said.” The Halifax Chronicle Herald reports, “Some who live nearby are concerned about the possible environmental impacts of the drilling fluids on nearby watersheds in the area, said Frances Oommen, a resident and a member of the Inverness Chapter of the Council of Canadians. The group has already sent an open letter to Premier Darrell Dexter outlining their concerns.”
October 2010: The Cape Breton Post reports, “Anne Levesque, a spokesperson for the Inverness chapter of the Council of Canadians, said residents at a (PetroWorth) open house asked questions about the potential for an oil spill into the lake and into wells that provide drinking water. …Local residents also questioned government officials about why their opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns come at such a late stage of the process, according to Levesque. ‘They wanted to be involved right from the beginning, not at the end,’ she said in an interview.”
February 2011: The Cape Breton Post reports, “Inverness County council is supporting a province-wide ban on the industrial use of hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from underground rock formations. The resolution was made at the request of the Inverness County Chapter of the Council of Canadians, which presented its concerns over a proposed oil and gas exploration in the Lake Ainslie area during a regular meeting on (February 14), which was attended by about 45 concerned citizens. According to the group, any drilling in areas as sensitive as the Lake Ainslie, Margaree and Mull River watersheds will set a dangerous precedent.”
September 2011: The Halifax Chronicle-Herald reports, “The Council of Canadians, a national social activist group, obtained (an Inverness County) document through a freedom of information request stating that PetroWorth ’shall obtain water for the project from the community of Inverness’s municipal water supply’. …(This is) a development that Inverness Warden Duart MacAulay said he didn’t know about. But MacAulay said he would support the initiative. ‘We would sell water to any industry that needed it, if it wouldn’t hurt our residential water supply.’”
October 2011: The Cape Breton Post reports, “Two groups concerned over exploratory drilling at the Ainslie Block have called on the Municipality of the County of Inverness to show some leadership when it comes to protecting their interests. …The Inverness County Chapter of the Council of Canadians also requested during the meeting that council to disapprove the selling of water to PetroWorth for its drilling operations.”
To read various campaign blogs on the activities of the Inverness County chapter in defence of Lake Ainslie, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=petroworth&paged=2.