Published on October 21, 2013
Anti-fracking demonstrators make their views known at a peaceful demonstration held in Windsor Oct. 18.
Published on October 21, 2013
Isabele Robertson, 6, and seven-year-old Flora McKay, of Windsor, take a break from chanting “Don’t hurt the earth!” at a peaceful anti-fracking demonstration hosted in Windsor Oct. 18.
Local fracking opposition groups are far from deterred following an anti-fracking protest that turned violent in New Brunswick Thursday, Oct. 17.
Gabrielle Breault, of No Fracking – Windsor Block, asked all opposed to the controversial shale gas extraction method to partake in a peaceful demonstration along Water Street in downtown Windsor Oct. 18, and show support for the anti-fracking protestors in Rexton, N.B.
The New Brunswick protestors recently set up a blockade to prevent SWN Resources, a subsidiary of Southwestern Energy in Houston, from conducting seismic testing at the site of a proposed shale gas development near the Elsipogtog First Nation reserve in Rexton.
The blockade stood for two weeks, but the protest turned violent Oct. 17 when police, following the orders of a court injunction, attempted to demolish the blockade.
At least 40 protestors were arrested after Molotov cocktails were thrown at law-enforcement officers and multiple police vehicles were set on fire. Police attempted to subdue the crowd with rubber bullets and tear gas.
The Windsor demonstration was a different scene entirely.
Several drivers honked their horns in support as a small, but enthusiastic, group of demonstrators waved signs that said, “You can’t drink money” and “No Fracking Way” near the busy intersection of King and Water streets.
Breault stressed that the demonstration was not a protest, but a means through which like-minded activists could gather and challenge the public to increase their awareness of the process through which hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is used to release natural gas from shale rock.
“I believe that the studies behind it has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the technology right now that is hydraulic fracturing is putting (our health at risk) by contaminating groundwater,” she said, noting that famed environmentalist David Suzuki is also opposed to fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping high volumes of water mixed with chemicals into the ground to force cracks into shale rock formations.
Breault says the there is a chance the concrete casings designed to protect groundwater from contamination in a well that is being fracked will fail and contaminants or radioactive elements from the well could reach groundwater supplies.
“The natural gas is not going anywhere. Let’s leave it there until we find a safe method to extract it,” she said.
“The natural gas is not going anywhere. Let’s leave it there until we find a safe method to extract it." Gabrielle Breault
Barbara Gallagher, president of the Summerville-based Citizen Action to Protect the Environment (CAPE) group, said the area is still rebounding from fracking that occurred in Kennetcook.
Millions of litres of fracking wastewater remains in containment ponds in Kennetcook from hydraulic fracturing that took place in and around the rural East Hants community between 2007 and 2009.
The Town of Windsor was paid about $100,000 to process more than seven million litres of the brine water at its sewage treatment plant between March 2010 and August 2011, but that stopped when Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) informed town officials naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) were detected in the wastewater.
“My advice to people in this area is to learn everything that you can about fracking,” said Gallagher, at the demonstration.
She said there are plenty of studies that highlight the risks of allowing hydraulic fracturing to occur in an area.
“I’m just hoping that our government that has now been elected — the Liberal government — will stick to their promise that they are not going to allow fracking in Nova Scotia and that they are not going to allow the importation of fracking wastewater from other provinces,” Gallagher said.
CAPE is keeping a close watch on all fracking-related activity in Nova Scotia, she added.
“We don’t want the damage to our water and we have no idea what it is going to do to future generations so this is basically why we’re out today.”
She says municipal leaders also have important roles to play while there continues to be a possibility that fracking may eventually resume in the land the Denver-based Triangle Petroleum is leasing in Hants County.
“I would like to congratulate the West Hants municipal council for their wisdom in passing a resolution in June to send a message to Darrell Dexter and the other leaders at that time that they do not support fracking. I would say that they are being extremely proactive, so I’m hoping that Windsor council might become educated and pass the same kind of resolution,” she said.
It was anticipated Windsor town council would vote on a motion to take a stand against processing fracking wastewater at their treatment plant during their regular monthly meeting Oct. 22.