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Peaceful resistance to shale gas in NB may soon come to a head

SWN Seismic trucks seen off of the 126 in Kent County, NB today

Ali Vervaeke (Atlantic organizing assistant) and I, along with friends and allies, travelled to New Brunswick today to support the ongoing protests against SWN Resources’ seismic testing (done in preparation for fracking, to determine how much shale gas might be present) along the 126 in Kent County, New Brunswick.

A Sacred Fire has been lit and an encampment is in place across from the junction of Highways 126 and 116. Elsipogtog First Nation has vowed the company’s seismic testing trucks will not pass this location. The RCMP has been providing escort to these trucks as they slowly make their way along the highway – and have been arresting people engaged in protests against SWN.

Several Fredericton chapter activists were there today, and have been participating in solidarity at the encampment, by being there physically or otherwise sending food and other supplies. The chapter and many other community groups have been fighting shale gas in the province for over 2 years now, but continue to be ignored by the province.

The trucks were expected to reach the Sacred Fire today, and so we waited in anticipation along with about 150 others at the encampment. Shortly after arriving, however, we learned that the crew was done for the day. So we stayed and talked, danced and listened to drumming and songs, held signs and heard honks of support all afternoon.

Sharing a laugh with Warrior Chief John Levi of the Elsipogtog First Nation (NB)Warrior Chief John Levi, who has been leading the actions, is not expecting a repeat for tomorrow. Several emails have gone out this evening calling for as much support as possible tomorrow. It is expected that the trucks will attempt to pass the Sacred Fire with the RCMP’s help, and protesters have been warned that stepping onto the road will result in immediate arrest.

We hope those in Kent County continue to stand strong, and we continue to stand in solidarity with their peaceful protests to protect the future of our water, and democracy. It was an honour to be there and be a part of this action; it could well be history in the making in New Brunswick. If SWN can be stopped, it could have a significant impact on the shale gas industry in New Brunswick and beyond.

But, this could be a long struggle. If you haven’t already made plans for summer holidays, consider coming to participate in the ongoing actions (speculation on the next community points to Hillsborough in Albert County, NB.

Welalin, Thank you, Merci!

Photo 1: SWN Seismic trucks seen off of the 126 in Kent County, NB today

Photo 2: Ali, Terry, Garth, Mark, Angela, Jean-Louis (Fredericton chapter activists and Atlantic regional staff)

Photo 3: Drumming and round dancing

Photo 4: Sharing a laugh with Warrior Chief John Levi of the Elsipogtog First Nation (NB)