A trip to New Brunswick to learn about shale gas development and what communities are doing about it

I came home on Sunday evening from an awesome weekend in New Brunswick learning more about fracking, meeting with allies, and being inspired by the amazing work of our chapters in the Atlantic and the incredible opposition to fracking in New Brunswick. I even had the privilege of speaking at the Voice of the People tour in Saint John on Saturday evening. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

On Friday afternoon, members of the Council of Canadians’ South Shore and St. John’s chapters, Political Director Brent Patterson, Atlantic Regional Organizer Angela Giles, and I made a stop in Elsipogtog to meet with community members there. Elsipogtog First Nation – just outside of Rexton, New Brunswick - was the hotbed of fracking opposition last fall when RCMP moved in on peaceful activists who were camped out to protect the land and water from SWN Resources fracking lans.

We then stopped in Penobsquis to meet with Beth Nixon, a landowner and farmer who is fighting fracking on her land and has seen firsthand the impacts that potash mining can have on people’s drinking water. Beth is a well-spoken and sharp lady who is quick to laugh and tell jokes despite the serious challenges and risks she and her family face. She took us two well pad sites – one minutes away from a dairy farm and the other right on her property.

Penobsquis is an industry town and had its first non-conventional wells drilled in 2000 and 2001. Since then, many more rounds of seismic testing have taken place and several more wells have been drilled. This coupled with potash mining has resulted in personal-use water wells drying up, health concerns, and subsidence causing damage to homes and properties (and drastically decreasing real estate values). There are currently nearly 40 wells that are being fracked in Penobsquis.

Corridor Resources is currently going through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with the New Brunswick government for Phase III of a hydraulic fracturing operation in Penobsquis, including a proposal to frack using propane in place of water.