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NEWS: Scientists warn of water-risks with fracking in New Brunswick

CBC reports, “Four scientists at the University of New Brunswick say they have water-related concerns if hydraulic fracturing is used to extract shale gas in the province. The professors, who have released an opinion paper called Potential Impact of Shale Gas Exploitation on Water Resources, say the risks to groundwater from seismic testing are minimal. But there are problems involving the large amount of fresh water required for hydro-fracking in New Brunswick and the treatment needed for waste water, according to the report.”

“The UNB researchers estimate the amount of fresh water needed for hydro-fracking is the equivalent of between eight and 24 Olympic-size swimming pools per well. Careful regulation of the effects on water wells, streams and lakes will be required, they said. …Hydro-fracking should not go ahead unless there’s an environmentally-responsible plan to dispose of the waste water, they said. …Their main concern is the waste water extracted from gas wells because it’s too salty and contaminated to be disposed of at water treatment plants or in streams and rivers.”

“The researchers include: Dr. Tom Al and Dr. Karl Butler from the Department of Earth Sciences, Dr. Rick Cunjak from the Department of Biology and Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management; and Dr. Kerry MacQuarrie from the Department of Civil Engineering.”

“Last week, Windsor Energy Inc. was granted a five-year lease to continue exploring for oil and gas in southern New Brunswick. Drilling could begin next year, with government approval, the company’s chief executive officer Khalid Amin told CBC news. Premier David Alward has promised to introduce an environmental protection plan this spring. He wants to impose the continent’s toughest shale gas regulations on companies working in the province, he has said. The Opposition Liberals, meanwhile, have repeatedly called for a moratorium on shale gas exploration until stronger rules are in place to govern the contentious industry.”

The Council of Canadians
In August, September and November 2011, Council of Canadians chapters in New Brunswick marched in major protests against fracking in that province, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10575, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12085 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=9922.

In February 2012, CBC reported, “Maude Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, (prior to speaking at a public forum in Fredericton) cautioned against what she described as the New Brunswick government’s ‘love affair’ with fracking. Barlow said fracking is a threat to Canada’s water supply.” That’s at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13641.

That same month, a poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians found that 66 percent of people in Atlantic Canada support a moratorium on all fracking for natural gas until all the federal environmental reviews are complete (expected by April 2013), http://canadians.org/media/water/2012/06-Feb-12-backgrounder.html.

In April 2012, the Council of Canadians made a $100 donation to the Know Shale Gas NB legal fund against fracking in New Brunswick, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=14724.

To see the Council of Canadians campaign web-page on fracking, please see http://canadians.org/fracking.