Council of Canadians urges Nova Scotia government to intervene in discharge of Colchester fracking wastewater

Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 16:25

Halifax, NS – The Council of Canadians sent a letter to Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau today urging him to intervene and terminate Colchester County’s approval for Atlantic Industrial Services to discharge fracking wastewater into the Chiganois River, potentially impacting communities along the Cobequid Bay and the Bay of Fundy. The letter can be read here.

In the letter, the Council of Canadians’ National Chairperson Maude Barlow, Regional Organizer Angela Giles and Water Campaigner Emma Lui outline the risks that the fracking wastewater poses to water sources and express grave concerns about the lack of baseline testing for other chemicals found in the fracking process including diesel, naphthalene, formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, thiourea and benzyl chloride, some of which are carcinogens, hazardous air pollutants and on Environment Canada’s Toxic Substances List.

The letter states, in part: “Given the Government of Nova Scotia is currently conducting a review of the ‘potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing in onshore petroleum exploration’ including the ‘storage and handling of wastes from fracturing operations’ and ‘current and available waste management technologies for treating water used in hydraulic fracturing,’ it would be irresponsible and premature to allow the discharge of the fracking wastewater before the review is completed and before fracking waste management technology in Nova Scotia is fully understood.”

“We are very alarmed that Colchester County has approved the discharge,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “This should be setting off warning bells with Nova Scotia Environment. How can we be letting millions of litres of fracking wastewater be dumped into Nova Scotia’s water ways and the Bay of Fundy without a thorough understanding of the impacts?”

The Council has asked that Minister Belliveau terminate the approval, consult with the public on how to safely dispose of the existing fracking wastewater at the AIS Debert facility and ultimately implement a ban on fracking in the province.

On March 27, Colchester County approved the release of 4.5 million litres of the wastewater, which allegedly originates from fracking operations in Hants County from 2005-2007. Along with several other individuals and organizations including other members of NOFRAC (the Nova Scotia Fracking Research and Awareness Coalition), the Council of Canadians submitted a formal appeal against the decision on April 10.

Atlantic Regional Organizer Angela Giles will be presenting at the appeal hearings, which are being held on Monday, May 6 and Tuesday, May 7 at 6pm in the Debert Legion (her presentation will be on the 7th).

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Twitter: @CouncilOfCDNs | www.canadians.org/fracking