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St. John’s chapter speaks at media conference opposed to fracking

Photo: A still from the video of yesterday's media conference.

A still from the video of yesterday’s media conference

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter participated in a media conference yesterday to highlight concerns about fracking and the fracking review panel process in their province.

CBC reports, “The Newfoundland and Labrador government announced last August that it was appointing an independent review panel to investigate the possibility of fracking to extract oil and gas. …[But] some environmental and citizen groups are now voicing concerns that none of the five panelists selected by government are women, or represent First Nations or people from the west coast of the province. Paula Graham, with the social action group Council of Canadians, is worried the panelists won’t look at the long-term health consequences or the ethics of fracking.”

Graham says, “White, male, university educated, land-owning — that’s more or less who makes all of our public decisions and that’s just weird. Why are we only drawing from such a small percentage of our population?”

And the Telegram adds, “The Council of Canadians’ Ken Kavanagh said the province’s review pales in comparison to reviews in other jurisdictions.” He says, “If you just look to the Wheeler Report and that process in Nova Scotia, not that it was perfect, but it was a damn lot better than this process here. They had a comprehensive set of terms of reference … they had an 11-member panel that had a fairly broad set of expertise and experience across the panel, they made sure that there was aboriginal representation for instance, they had province-wide consultations — I think they had 11 across the entire province. We want a process something like that and this is far from that.”

Allies who also oppose the fracking review process include Citizens against CETA, Divest MUN, East Coast Fracking Awareness Group, NL Fracking Awareness Network, Port au Port Bay Fishery Committee, Port au Port/Bay St. George Fracking Awareness Group, Sandy Pond Alliance, Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition and Sierra Club Atlantic.

The panel is accepting written and artistic comments through to June 1. Public consultations in Corner Brook and Stephenville are expected sometime after July 15. The panel’s final report is expected by October.

To watch a 51-minute video of yesterday’s media conference, please click here. And to listen to an 8-minute CBC Radio interview with Graham, you can click here.

Further reading
St. John’s chapter continues to organize fracking review panel submission parties (May 2015 blog)