K’JIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A coalition of groups and citizens is raising the alarm following the Nova Scotia Department of Energy’s under-the-radar release of their Onshore Petroleum Atlas. The Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC) says the release of this atlas, which touts the potential economic benefits of fracking in the province, points to a possible intention by the government to reintroduce the dangerous gas extraction method despite the moratorium implemented in 2014.
“The conditions under which Nova Scotia banned fracking have not changed,” says Robin Tress, with the Council of Canadians. “There is now even stronger evidence that fracking endangers groundwater, human health, and our ability to address climate change. Given the risks fracking poses to water, and Nova Scotia’s droughts and drinking water shortages of the last few years, it does not make sense for Nova Scotia to try to push for fracking.”
Allowing fracking in the province would also be a clear contradiction of the September 2017 Mandate Letter from Premier Stephen McNeil to the Minister of the Environment, which states that the Minister must “continue to enforce the moratorium on fracking for onshore natural gas.”
“It is a waste of time, money, and expertise to create and promote an atlas for something we’ve decided, as a province, to prohibit,” says Stephen Thomas, Energy Campaign Coordinator with the Ecology Action Centre. “We need to move beyond fossil fuels and invest time and money in renewable energy development, improving energy efficiency, and meeting our climate targets in a way that benefits Nova Scotians and our growing green economy.”
“There are now nearly 300,000 jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Canada, which is already outpacing that of oil and gas development,” says Thomas.
The government-commissioned review of fracking in 2014 recommended that “independently conducted research of a scientific and public participatory nature” is needed and that “Nova Scotia should design and recognize the test of a community permission to proceed” before any exploration occurs. The report also emphasized the need for applying the precautionary principle to such exploration - do nothing until it is proven doing something is not harmful. To date, none of these recommendations have been realized.
“This is a step backwards,” says Barb Harris of NOFRAC. “Communities across the province made it completely clear they do not want to see fracking in Nova Scotia. Instead of investing any more money or time in supporting the fracking industry, let’s put our energy into building industries that meet 21st century realities and needs.”
Council of Canadians
902 223 8526
Energy Campaign Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre
902 441 7136
Nova Scotia Fracking and Resource Coalition (NOFRAC)
902 351 2490