LETTER: Once we frack, we can't go back

Editor Kings County Advertiser and Register
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NOFRACK and its supporters have been accused of misinforming the public concerning the risks or perceived benefits of hydraulic fracturing.

People presently employed by the industry, or wanting to be part of the short-term boom are very much inclined to overlook the mounting negatives. The $$ signs are all they see. Yet, the problems and accidents are real, they are accumulating, they are well documented and they can be found, if one takes the time to do the research. How can we trust an industry that operates mostly outside of any state or provincial environmental regulation (“self-regulated” in Alberta)? An industry that keeps telling us the risks are low, when scientific evidence demonstrates the opposite. Emphasized are the many new jobs and the anticipated economic boom. Has anybody done the math?  The proposed sites for shale gas development are Hants, Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou Counties  - two-thirds of Cape Breton has similar shale deposits – all productive agricultural areas, as well as tourist destinations. There are many organic farms, wineries, as well as beautiful trail systems developed in the last decade, attracting visitors from close by and afar, supporting numerous restaurants, B&Bs, etc. Many or most of these businesses and jobs will likely be lost, because fracking and agriculture and tourism are not compatible. Just envision the stark reality: well pads with 10 or more frack wells going out underground horizontally for a kilometre in all directions - every two square kilometres; 680 of them planned in the Windsor block alone. Imagine the heavy truck traffic 24/7, the non-stop noise and toxic fumes. Then add the expenses for road re-construction - the industry only pays up to 20 per cent - increased expenditure of healthcare, contaminated wells, huge ponds of toxic brine. Millions of litres are still sitting in Kennetcook from three test wells drilled in 2007.

The long-term cost for health and environmental issues will be enormous, since up to 60 per cent of wells can leak eventually. The number of jobs usually amount to only 30 to 40 per cent of what has been promised. These jobs will be established on the backs of people living there now who might lose their livelihood, their health compromised. The industry is highly subsidized in all Western provinces. There are thousands of infractions in other jurisdictions, two per cent might ever reach the courts. Once the green light is given, companies will go wherever they smell gas - that could well be nearby rural schools, hospitals, restaurants, farms, or parks. Small- to medium-size earthquakes have now been associated with this method. It is a serious issue that could haunt us for a long time.  Many professionals are telling us the actual economic benefits are very questionable and the environmental impacts will be devastating. 

Almost half of Nova Scotia fracked up? It seems insane to even consider it! The moratorium will end this year. We can and should voice our concerns to the Hydraulic Fracturing Review panel until April 30 www.cbu.ca/hfstudy/project-status.     

Irmgard Lipp

Grafton

Organizations: Hydraulic Fracturing Review

Geographic location: Alberta, Colchester, Cape Breton Windsor Kennetcook Nova Scotia

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